All Black legend Sir Michael Jones has fended off a former government minister to be elected to the New Zealand Rugby board.

Jones was voted on as a director ahead of Dame Annette King to replace Glenn Wahlstrom, NZR confirmed after its AGM on Thursday.

"I have been fortunate throughout my life to be involved in rugby which has given me a lot. I am very humbled and privileged to have been elected on to the NZR board, and I am looking forward to giving back to the game in this capacity," Jones said.

Chairman Brent Impey says the 53-year-old has already made an immense contribution to New Zealand rugby both as a player at every level, and as a leader in the community.

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"His ability to bring people together, to understand different perspectives and different cultures, and to lead through his own actions will be a valuable addition."

Jones, who was knighted last year for his service to the Pacific Island community, played 55 Tests for the All Blacks after he made his debut during the 1987 Rugby World Cup.

Dick Littlejohn, was also elected a life member of NZR. Littlejohn was an influential figure in the formation of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987 and was made joint chairman of the tournament's organising committee.

Earlier, it was announced former All Black Waka Nathan, 77, was made a life member of the NZ Maori Rugby board.

Last month, NZR announced a record profit of $33.4 million, buoyed by the British & Irish Lions tour.

However, Impey said 2017 would be remembered most for the rise of women's rugby.

A total of 24,925 females registered to play rugby in in 2017 with a 12 per cent increase among female teenagers being a major contributor to the 157,000 registrations nationwide.

"The future is bright for women's rugby and their momentum has continued into 2018 with the Black Ferns Sevens winning gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia," Impey said.

- NZN