WELLINGTON - Love, and a desire to improve his rugby, have led All Black wing Jonah Lomu to sign a two-year deal with the Wellington Rugby Football Union which will see him play for the Hurricanes in the Super 12 and Wellington in the NPC.

Lomu, with his girlfriend, Teina Stace, watching in the background, signed on the dotted line at the capital's WestpacTrust Stadium yesterday before outlining why he was moving from Counties Manukau and the Chiefs.

He said he had realised about halfway through the rugby World Cup that his game would only improve if he played consistently with high-calibre players.

Lomu felt he would achieve that with the Hurricanes, joining fellow All Blacks Tana Umaga, Christian Cullen and Alama Ieremia in a star-studded backline.

But love had played a role in Lomu's shift from Auckland to Wellington, where Stace lives.

"Teina's a big part of my life," Lomu said. "I'd be lying if I said that wasn't a part of it - wanting to be here with her - but my rugby decisions all came down to purely what was going to be the best for me."

Lomu was also confident he would be given more space and privacy in Wellington than he had received living in Auckland.

"It's a great place to relax. I love the water and it's just really peaceful.

"It helps me relax and the more relaxed I am the better I play," he said.

It was a relief finally to have sorted out his rugby future having now signed for two years with the New Zealand and Wellington unions.

His signature carries a big price tag. Wellington have to pay Counties Manukau a $125,000 transfer fee and pay Lomu to play for them in the National Provincial Championship.

He is one of about 150 players contracted to the New Zealand Union to play in the Super 12.

As an All Black, he is on one of the higher pay scales and the general consensus is that Lomu's rugby salaries, plus his endorsements, means he earns about $1 million a year.

- NZPA