"It has been an extraordinary 11 years living in Ireland and I will always treasure my time in this special and unique club."

Words of Munster legend Doug Howlett who confirmed that he will end his association with the Thomond Park-based club and return to New Zealand after the summer.

Howlett joined Munster in 2008, having played 62 times for the All Blacks, and helped the province to European Cup glory that summer, and also won two Celtic League titles during his six-year playing career at the club.

The versative back who played both on the wing and at full back was appointed Munster captain for the 2012-13 season and retired through injury in May 2013.

The Auckland native has since worked for the club in a commercial and marketing capacity but will now return to his homeland in autumn.

"The privilege of playing for Munster Rugby, completing my MBA in UCC, and having the opportunity to run the province’s Commercial and Marketing programmes...have all been incredible experiences," said Howlett.

"It has been an extraordinary 11 years living in Ireland and I will always treasure my time in this special and unique club, and in Irish sport, academia and business." 

Munster Rugby Acting CEO Philip Quinn said, "With Doug excelling in a senior management role we were always informed of his future plans to return to New Zealand. 

"He has been a great colleague and addition to the organisation, overseeing our most successful commercial year of the past decade."