New Zealand fly-half Dan Carter is expecting a "ferocious" response from Ireland on Saturday after the tourists were comprehensively beaten in the first Test.

Carter was in majestic form in the 42 - 10 win in Auckland last weekend and slotted seven from eight kicks, including two successful efforts from the halfway line.

He also sent Julian Savea scampering free for the first of three debut tries and was denied one of his own in the dying seconds as Rob Kearney made a last-ditch tackle.

Carter admits it will be "an emotional experience" playing a Test match in Christchurch for the first time since devastating earthquakes hit the region in early 2011 but knows Ireland will be eager to spoil the All Blacks' return.

"Every time you come up against the Irish you never take them as an easy opponent," he said. "They are always extremely ferocious, they get stuck in and are a dangerous side to play.

"This season has put Irish rugby in really good stead with a couple of Irish teams (Leinster and Ulster) stepping out at the Heineken Cup final.

"Irish rugby is on a high at the moment and deservedly so.

"I'm sure it will be a huge battle."

Carter comfortably outperformed his opposite number Jonathan Sexton at Eden Park but retains huge respect for the Leinster man.

"Sexton is a great kicker of the ball but he has a lot of attacking flair as well," added Carter.

"He can take the ball to the line. As a team playing against that, you have to be wary of 10s that like to run the ball. It's a great strength to his game."

The All Blacks will be without the services of Victor Vito for the remainder of the three-match series after he sustained a knee injury. The Hurricanes flanker will be out of action for an estimated five weeks.

Regardless of the Irish challenge, Carter is simply delighted to be back playing international rugby.

He memorably saw his World Cup dream cut short by a groin injury last year and subsequently spent five months away from the game as he recovered, while his team-mates lifted the trophy on home soil.

Reflecting on his return to the top level, he said: "In the last three weeks the body has felt really good and back to full fitness, which is pleasing.

"In the back of my mind this is where I always wanted to be; playing for the All Blacks and putting that black jersey on."

The continual practising penalty kicks contributed to Carter's groin injury but he is adamant he never considered returning to the side as an out-half without kicking duties.

"It is what I do and love," said Carter.

"Playing in the number 10 jersey and kicking goals. I've been pain free for the past few games. It is a big part of my game so it is great to have that ability back."

Both squads have now arrived in Christchurch after Ireland touched down earlier today and the weather is noticeably colder.

Carter is content to play in any climate but has been reminded of the 2008 Test against Ireland at Wellington in 2008, where the hosts took a hard-won 21-11 victory in testing conditions.

"That was a freezing cold, freezing cold game," said Carter.

"I've never been so cold in my whole life. That was a really close game. It could have gone either way."