Aaron Smith will resume his friendly but intense rivalry with TJ Perenara on Friday.
All Blacks Ben Smith and Luke Whitelock also return and Waisake Naholo has been moved to the bench, with Richard Buckman handed the No 14 jersey. 
Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger said Naholo was another casualty of the All Blacks player management protocols, which limit a player's involvement to no more than 180 minutes in their first three games.
"Waisake's only got 37 minutes left out of his first three games - he missed round one - and I just thought it was better to bring him off the bench, based on those parameters," Mauger said. 
Fresh off a week's All Blacks rest, the Highlanders have injected Smith into the starting XV for the round four clash in Wellington.
Smith's kicking game came under scrutiny during the tests against England and Ireland, although Perenara's charged down kick at Twickenham showed it was an area of concern for both halfbacks. 
Nonetheless, Smith's massive influence on the Highlanders has been as plain as the nose on your face in the early rounds of Super Rugby.
The Highlanders have also moved Josh Ioane back to No 10, where he will benefit from Smith's bullet pass and strong decision making.
Highlanders assistant coach Glenn Delaney backed Smith not to get distracted by the rivalry with Perenara.
When I look back to last year's game [against the Hurricanes in Dunedin] Aaron was one of the main drivers behind that, he just focused on his job," Delaney said.
The reason he is, in my view, the best halfback in the world is that he can concentrate on his role.
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