Captain Brendon McCullum confirmed batsman Dean Brownlie's return to the Test XI for the series opener against South Africa, which gets underway at Newlands on Wednesday.
Peter Fulton was going to open the batting alongside the talented Martin Guptill, but sustained sustained in the drawn three-day tour match against a South African Invitation XI in Paarl - and was subsequently ruled out of the two-match series.
While the uncapped Colin Munro replaced Fulton in the squad, Brownlie will take his place in the playing XI - to mark his first Test since August 2012, against the West Indies in Kingston.
"Peter was going to open but he has been struck down by an injury. That gives an opportunity to Dean. I'll come back to the top of the order and Dean will come in at number four," said McCullum.
"I've been opening the batting for the last little while and you've got to bat at some point. Martin has been in good form and hopefully we can establish a pretty good partnership up front."
Proteas fast bowler Vernon Philander has been cleared to play in Cape Town, after recovering from a hamstring injury endured during a first-class fixture at the same venue earlier this month.
Philander has been the hosts' most successful bowler since his debut 13 months ago, snaring 67 wickets in a dozen matches at the impressive average of 17.98.
He endured a relatively lean stretch of form in the recent series against Australia, though, going wicketless in the first Test in Brisbane before being ruled out of the second in Adelaide by a saw back. The series decider in Perth, however, brought him four key wickets.
"Vernon is an excellent bowler. His stats have been phenomenal but from our point of view we're playing against a very good cricket team so we expect them to have very good cricketers in their side," added McCullum.