The 38 year-old, who first picked up a rugby ball 32 years ago, said he was grateful he was able to announce the news on his own terms.
“I can’t thank everyone who has played a part in my journey enough, from my teammates, opponents, coaching and management teams, sponsors and in particular you, the fans.”
Carter debuted for Canterbury in 2002 before donning the Crusaders Super Rugby jersey 141 times.
He went onto play 112 Tests for the All Blacks, having made his debut against Wales as a 21 year-old in 2003. After his international retirement, he joined Racing 92 in Paris, before moving to Japan to play for the Kobe Steelers for two seasons.
Fittingly, his last game was for his beloved Southbridge Rugby Club in July last year.
He said he was sad to be walking away from playing, but the timing is right.
“Rugby will always be a part of my life.”
Since his announcement over the weekend, tributes have flown in for the three-time International Rugby Player of the Year.
From rivals Bryan Habana and Jonny Wilkinson to teammates like Aaron Smith and Julian Savea. Taika Waititi even sent his best wishes. Check out some of the messages below.