Carter began his international career in the centre but his move back to that position is thought to be a reflection of his lack of game time since the end of the Tri Nations and his impending sabbatical from international rugby.
The former IRB Player of the Year, who is again nominated for the award in 2008, will move to Perpignan at the end of New Zealand's European tour, with Donald the man expected to temporarily replace him in the All Black hot seat.
Head coach Graham Henry has also handed a debut to wing Hosea Gear, the brother of Worcester's Rico, for the historic match in Hong Kong.
New Zealand: Mils Muliaina, Hosea Gear, Conrad Smith, Dan Carter, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Stephen Donald, Jimmy Cowan, Rodney So'oialo, Richie McCaw (c), Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Neemia Tialata, Andrew Hore, Tony Woodcock
Replacements: Keven Mealamu, Greg Somerville, Anthony Boric, Adam Thompson, Piri Weepu, Ma'a Nonu, Isaia Toeava