New Zealand captain Kane Williamson concedes South Africa are favourites in the opening Test, though he has backed the Black Caps' recent form.
The first of three Tests will get underway in Dunedin on Wednesday, with touring South Africa coming off a 3-2 win in the one-day international series.
South Africa's form in the longest format of cricket has also been impressive, Faf du Plessis' men enjoying a run of seven wins in their past night matches, while the Proteas are unbeaten in 13 Tests against New Zealand - dating back to March 2004.
And Williamson - whose team are in the midst of a four-game winning streak in Tests - is wary of the experienced Proteas at University Oval, where New Zealand have not lost a match in seven appearances since 2008.
"I suppose so. They're always very competitive in all formats and all conditions as well," Williamson told reporters on Tuesday when asked if South Africa were favourites.
"They have played in New Zealand many times before and they do have a number of experienced players that have played all around the world for a number of years.
"We'll have to be at our best; the side's been playing good test cricket at home this summer and it's important we do again."
Williamson is undecided on his starting XI following the Test team's 2-0 sweep of Bangladesh in January.
James Neesham and Jeetan Patel are in the mix to feature but Williamson was giving nothing away before inspecting the wicket.
"We want to get his [Curator Mike Davies] thoughts on some subtle differences that we might have experienced previously on this surface," said Williamson, whose team-mates BJ Watling and Trent Boult are set to earn their 50th Test caps.
"By all accounts it will be similar to what we're used to. The green grass might offer a little bit to the seamers initially.
"We haven't selected an XI just yet. We want to have another look. The wicket in the past has been liable to change quite quickly."