Former Wallabies coach Robbie Deans helped Digby Ioane move to the Crusaders, where the winger will replace Nemani Nadolo for the 2017 and 2018 Super Rugby seasons.
Ioane has told friends he did not want to play for an Australian franchise other than the Queensland Reds, who he won a premiership with in 2011, but he made no contact with the Reds when he decided to return to Super Rugby from Japan.
The 35-Test Wallaby winger thanked Deans - who led the Crusaders to a record five titles under his coaching tenure before becoming Australian coach in 2008 - for facilitating the two-year deal.
"The opportunity to be part of a New Zealand Super Rugby team is too good to pass up," Ioane said.
"I love the intensity and tempo of Super Rugby and the New Zealand teams are leading the charge in that respect at the moment, so I can't wait to be a part of that.
"I would like to thank my manager Michael Hobbs and Robbie Deans for their support in making this happen."
Hobbs, who played against Ioane for the Blues and Highlanders, is the nephew of Deans and son of late All Blacks captain and former NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs.
Incoming Crusaders coach Scott Robertson said Ioane, 31, is "in the best condition of his life right now".