Highlanders centre Tamati Ellison will join Japanese club Ricoh at the end of the current Super Rugby campaign.
Ellison has already enjoyed one stint with the Tokyo-based outfit, having joined the Black Rams in 2010 after activating a get-out clause in his New Zealand Rugby Union contract.
Following his return from Japan, Ellison worked his way back into contention for the national side and notched up three caps last year, three years after making his debut against Italy.
The decision comes as a blow not only to the Highlanders but also to the All Blacks who are looking decidedly thin in the midfield. Conrad Smith looks set to take a sabbatical later in the year while Ma'a Nonu is in woeful form and Richard Kahui is also heading to Japan.