Hayden Parker has been named at No.10 for the Highlanders for the warm-up match against the Blues in Queenstown on Friday.
Coach Jamie Joseph has made a number of changes from the team that played the Crusaders in Oamaru last Friday.
Parker, Nasi Manu and Josh Bekhuis join the starting XV for what will be the third pre-season game for both the Highlanders and the Blues.
Hoeata moves to lock where Bekhuis joins him as locking partner, Manu makes a return from injury and replaces Elliot Dixon at No.8 and Parker gets a chance to impress at flyhalf.
Highlanders: 15 Buxton Popoalii, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Phil Burleigh, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Hosea Gear (captain), 10 Hayden Parker, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu, 7 John Hardie, 6 Joe Wheeler, 5 Jarrad Hoeata, 4 Ma'afu Fia, 3 Brayden Mitchell, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements - from: Jason Emery, Fumiaki Tanaka, Shaun Treeby, Trent Renata, Frae Wilson, Hugh Blake, Tim Boys, Liam Coltman, Tom Franklin, Paul Grant, Chris King, Jamie Mackintosh, Bronson Murray.
Friday, February 15
Venue: Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown
Kick-off: 17.30 (04.30 GMT)
Referee: Chris Pollock
Assistant referees: Kane McBride, Mike Lash