South Africa have opted to bat against a New Zealand side which has dropped regular bowling spearhead Tim Southee for the first Test in Dunedin on Wednesday.
Faf du Plessis's decision to bat ends a run of 22 consecutive Tests in New Zealand in which the captain winning the toss has decided to bowl.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson said he would also have batted first on wicket that is "drier than we're used to."
Right-arm quick Southee has been dropped in a bold move by New Zealand to play two spinners Jeetan Patel and Mitchell Santner.
It is the first time New Zealand have played two spinners in a home Test since Daniel Vettori and Patel worked in tandem against Australia in Hamilton seven years ago.
The last time Southee was dropped was after the first Test against South Africa in Dunedin five years ago and he missed the next three Tests before being reselected.
New Zealand: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, Jimmy Neesham, BJ Watling, Mitchell Santner, Jeetan Patel, Neil Wagner, Trent Boult
South Africa: Stephen Cook, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis (capt), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, 11 Kagiso Rabada
Umpires: Kumar Dharmasena (SRI), Bruce Oxenford (AUS)
Third umpire: Rod Tucker (AUS)
Match referee: David Boon (AUS)