South Africa have beaten New Zealand in four of their last five Twenty20 Internationals, but captain Faf du Plessis remains wary of this month's opposition.
The teams will meet for three T20Is in December, the first of which gets underway in Durban on Friday, when du Plessis' men will look to warrant their position three berths higher than the Black Cap in the ICC rankings.
"I rate them quite highly. You can't underestimate any opposition, and in T20I cricket it makes them even more dangerous because they have quite a few match-winners," said du Plessis, who is standing in for the rested AB de Villiers.
The Proteas' squad includes four new caps in spinner Aaron Phangiso, fast bowler Chris Morris, opener Henry Davids and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock. Seamer Lonwabo Tsotsobe and the hard-hitting David Miller, meanwhile, have been recalled.
"One thing the Kiwis always bring to the party is competitiveness. Luckily I have played a couple of series against them so we can share that knowledge with the younger guys so that they know what to expect. They are very competitive, so we are expecting a tough series," added du Plessis.