Carter took the prize, voted for by New Zealand's 300 pro players, ahead of fellow Grand Slam tourists Tana Umaga and props Carl Hayman and Tony Woodcock.
The 23-year-old is a strong favourite to take the New Zealand Rugby Union's player of the year award as well after a remarkable season of success.
He has been the central figure in a momentous year for the All Blacks, which included a clean sweep against the British & Irish Lions as well as Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations triumphs.
He returned from a broken leg in August to play a major part in the British Isles tour whitewash, while also contributing to the Crusaders' Super 12 success, emerging from the shadow of the departing Andrew Mehrtens.
Wellington and All Blacks scrum-half Piri Weepu took the Young Player prize.
Weepu beat teenage international Isaia Toeava, lock James Ryan and uncapped Otago man Chris Smylie.
Weepu was a key player in the Hurricanes' run to the Super 12 semi-finals before becoming a mainstay in the All Blacks' squad, where he contested Byron Kelleher for a starting place.
Elsewhere, NPC Premier Division newboys Manawatu have engaged former Bristol coach Peter Thorburn as a senior coaching mentor.
Manawatu Rugby Union chief executive Hadyn Smith confirmed the ex-North Harbour coach will give Charlie McAlister and assistant Bruce Hemara the benefit of his vast experience.
Thorburn, a current New Zealand Under-19 selector, works on International Rugby Academy courses at Massey University, where he struck up a relationship with McAlister and Hemara.
The 66-year-old, a current New Zealand Under-19 selector, told the Manawatu Standard: "I said I'd love to do it. I love helping people and providing an outlet for the knowledge I have gained.
"But it will be what Charlie and Bruce want. It's their team."