The captain of the New Zealand women's World Cup winning rugby team, Fiao'o Faamausili, has come out of retirement to take up one of the inaugural Black Ferns contracts.
New Zealand Rugby has named 28 players to receive the new contracts which are worth between $40,000 and $45,000.
The 37-year-old Faamausili is a police officer and decided to retire from international rugby after the side's fifth World Cup triumph last year having played 52 tests.
The Black Ferns head coach Glenn Moore says Faamausili was encouraged to lace up her boots and put herself in a position to be considered for the Black Ferns again to bolster the experience among what is likely to be a mixed squad of familiar and new players.
"We are thrilled to offer Fi a contract. She is as fit as she's ever been and is super passionate about being involved," said Moore.
"There are a number of new faces among those named and to have Fi's skills and experience to call on will be invaluable."
Moore said the 28 players named today weren't necessarily guaranteed a spot in this year's Black Ferns team.
"We have a Black Ferns training camp in mid-June when we'll get a much better idea of how everyone is tracking. There's also the possibility we'll offer a contract to players outside of the initial contracted squad."
Moore said there were two more contracted positions to be filled.
The Black Ferns sevens team, who compete at the Olympics, have received national contracts for a number of years, but the new deal for 15s players has been seen as pivotal for women's sport in New Zealand.
"It's an exciting time for women's rugby and I'm very proud we've taken the step forward to contract our female 15s players along with our sevens squad," NZR's head of women's rugby said Cate Sexton.
The Black Ferns play Australia in two matches in August, both as curtain-raisers to the first two Rugby Championship tests between the two nations' men's sides, the All Blacks and the Wallabies.
The Black Ferns will also play the United States in Chicago in November, with further matches to be confirmed.
The 2018 Black Ferns contracted squad so far is:
Chelsea Alley - Waikato
Ariana Bayler - Waikato
Grace Brooker - Canterbury
Kendra Cocksedge - Canterbury
Krysten Cottrell - Hawke's Bay
Ruahei Demant - Auckland
Kilistina Moata'ane - Otago
Victoria Subritzky-Nafatali - Counties Manukau
Kristina Sue - Manawatu
Renee Wickliffe - Bay of Plenty
Selica Winiata - Manawatu
Eloise Blackwell - Auckland
Les Elder (nee Ketu) - Bay of Plenty
Fiao'o Faamausili - Auckland
Dhys Faleafaga - Wellington
Harono Iringa - Counties Manukau
Aldora Itunu - Auckland
Linda Itunu - Auckland
Pip Love - Canterbury
Charmaine McMenamin - Auckland
Toka Natua - Waikato
Joanah Ngan Woo - Wellington
Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate - Counties Manukau
Aleisha Nelson - Auckland
Marcelle Parkes - Wellington
Leilani Perese - Counties Manukau
Aroha Savage - Counties Manukau
Charmaine Smith - Auckland