The Highlanders rugby coach Jamie Joseph says it was important for the franchise to secure a player like Canterbury first five-eighth Colin Slade for next season competition.
After two seasons with the Crusaders, the 22-year-old, is moving further South to cement his place as a specialist in the No 10 jersey.
Joseph says Slade's signing is a crucial acquisition for the franchise as he works towards building a successful team and campaign next year.
Slade says he's excited about the challenge of moving to a leadership role within the Highlanders next year.
Slade debuted for the Crusaders in 2009 notching up 26 Super Rugby caps and is currently playing his third provincial season with Canterbury, having debuted against Manawatu in 2008.
Slade represented New Zealand in the Under 19 squad in 2006, the Junior All Blacks in 2009, and this year he played for the New Zealand Barbarians.