Shaw returns to Dunedin as the oldest member of England's Rugby World Cup squad with the 38-year-old set to be named in the 22 to face Romania.
And Shaw has hailed the impact of playing in New Zealand as a teenager had on his rugby career.
"I was 17, 18 it had a lot of influence over my career. You couldn't have chosen a tougher environment than playing down here," said Shaw.
"At that time there were a lot of All Blacks playing in the league and to learn from the very best was key.
"We didn't have too many All Blacks in our side but we played against Jamie Joseph, John Timu, Mark Ellis, Aran Pene, the Bachop brothers.
"Playing in New Zealand decided my rugby future in terms of whether I took it up as a game I wanted to play at the highest level.
"When I went there, I had only been playing for about a year. I was a bit wet behind the ears and they taught me an enormous amount.
"I had a habit of trying to turn players over in the tackle and ending up on the wrong side. I have still got a few scars to prove it!"
Since his days with the Pirates, Shaw has been capped by England 69 times, represented the Lions and won every club honour available in the game with Wasps.
Shaw was also an England squad member during their victorious 2003 World Cup campaign and played in the final four years ago.
That experience lends Shaw a different perspective on England's sluggish start to the World Cup and one he has been trying to explain to his team-mates.
"I'm the oldest player in this team. I wouldn't say I'm Peter Pan but I don't feel it that much," said Shaw.
"I think probably what they're feeling is a little bit of impatience.
"We are obviously striving to replicate a bit of what we were producing in the early part of the Six Nations. At the moment, we are not there, we are obviously striving in training every day to try to make that better.
"It's fairly early on in the tournament and we have a couple of tough games coming up.
"It's not all about winning the World Cup today, as it wasn't at the weekend. We are making steps, albeit we're a little bit behind where we want to be."
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