The 25-year-old defender will partner the more experienced Jonny Evans, who is handed the captain's armband for the clash in Belfast.
Elsewhere, Matthew Lund and Josh Magennis are involved from the off some five weeks from their last outings, as boss Michael O'Neill looks to experiment a little ahead of next week's crucial qualifier against Azerbaijan.
In terms of the visitors, manager Anthony Hudson has gone with Marco Rojas in attack alongside leading man Chris Wood, who skippers the All Whites tonight on the back of a campaign that saw him top the Championship scoring charts.
There is no place for regular captain Winston Reid, however, as the West Ham United defender recently underwent an operation that will rule him out for the next couple of months.
Northern Ireland XI: McGovern; McLaughlin, Evans, Flanagan, Hughes, Brunt; Norwood, Lund, Dallas; Magennis, Boyce
Subs: Ferguson, Thompson, McGinn, Davis, D. Lafferty, Mannus, Paton, McCartan, K. Lafferty, Carroll
New Zealand XI: Marinovic, Boxall, McGlinchey, Wood, Rojas, Thomas, Lewis, Doyle, Colvey, Smith, Durante
Subs: Brotherton, Wynne, Tzimopolous, Tuiloma, Barbaraouses, Smeltz, Moss, Patterson, Ingham, Rufer, Roux, Williams
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