Wickets in New Zealand, where the three-match series is being played, generally suit seamers more so than spin.

But Phangiso said he wanted to have an impact, along with Imran Tahir, ahead of the series starting at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

"It's my first time in New Zealand and I haven't done a lot of homework on the statistics here but for me it really is about taking situations as they come and not looking too far ahead," he said on Saturday.

"The conditions have been known to be quite slow in some of the areas so hopefully they will assist a bit of spin so Imran and I are able to play a part."

A strong South Africa squad have travelled to New Zealand as they continue their preparations for the World Cup next year.

Paceman Vernon Philander returns and, although there are injury worries, the South Africans will be close to their best for the New Zealand series and matches against Australia that follow.

Phangiso, a left-arm spinner, has been solid at ODI level with 14 wickets at an average of 34.21.

The 30-year-old enjoyed a good tour of Zimbabwe, where South Africa also played Australia, in August and is delighted with the work he has done with spin bowling coach Claude Henderson.

"I put in a lot of hard work before and during that tour. I think the big key for me was my patience, I stuck to my game plans and fortunately that paid off," Phangiso said.

"Claude was a brilliant spinner in his days. To have a guy like him to work with and to gain some confidence has been great.

"I can relate a lot to him because he was a left-arm spinner and that does help a lot, it's great being able to feed off that.

"It also helps to have someone who understands what spinners go through on match days and in our preparation."

New Zealand, meanwhile, have several injury worries that have weakened their squad.

Star batsman Ross Taylor (calf) and paceman Adam Milne (elbow) are out of the series, while Kane Williamson (wrist) will miss the opener.

Tim Southee has been battling a shoulder injury but is expected to be fit.

The injuries will make it difficult for New Zealand, who will be hoping familiar home conditions give them an edge.