The All Blacks not only go into the game as favourites, they have been well backed to final end 24 years of heartbreak by lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy for a second time.
However the hosts face massive pressure to deliver on home soil - starting against the South Sea islanders.
As a result, coach Graham Henry has named a talented-looking starting XV with Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg the only surprises.
Williams gets the nod ahead of Conrad Smith to form a heavyweight partnership with Ma'a Nonu in midfield, while Dagg ousts Mils Muliaina from the starting XV.
Keven Mealamu is also missing, so Andrew Hore starts at hooker, however prop Tony Woodcock has been passed fit to play.
Tonga captain Finau Maka insists his side are more than just there to make up the numbers against New Zealand.
The Tongans are expected to pose few problems for the tournament favourites - but Maka is determined to make life difficult for their illustrious opponents.
And they can also draw some inspiration from events in Paris four years ago when host nation France suffered a chronic attack of opening night nerves and lost to Argentina.
"We just don't want to turn up and make up the numbers," said Maka.
"We want to go out there and show the world that Tonga does exist.
"There is no pressure on us, the pressure is on them. We are just going to go out there and give it to them and see if they can handle it.
"I think every Test match is important, but especially at a Rugby World Cup.
"Not only that, it is the opening game of the tournament so it's really important that we give it everything from numbers one to 22 in our squad."
New Zealand: 15 I Dagg, 14 R Kahui, 13 M Nonu, 12 S B Williams, 11 I Toeava, 10 D Carter, 9 J Cowan, 1 T Woodcock, 2 A Hore, 3 O Franks, 4 B Thorn, 5 A Williams, 6 J Kaino, 7 R McCaw (capt), 8 V Vito.Replacements: 16 C Flynn, 17 B Franks, 18 A Boric, 19 S Whitelock, 20 P Weepu, 21 C Slade, 22 C Jane.
Tonga: 15 Vungakoto Lilo, 14 Viliame Iongi, 13 Sukanaivalu Hufanga, 12 Andre Ma'ilei, 11 Siale Piutau, 10 Kurt Morath, 9 Taniela Moa, 8 Viliami Ma'afu, 7 Finau Maka (capt), 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Joseph Tuineau, 4 Paino Hehea, 3 Taufa'ao Filise, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Soane Tonga'uiha.Replacements: 16 Ephraim Taukafa, 17 Alisona Taumalolo, 18 Kisi Pulu, 19 Sione Timani, 20 Samiu Vahafolau, 21 Samisoni Fisilau, 22 Alipate Fatafehi.
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