It hasn't been the happiest of venues for the All Blacks in recent times, but the importance of the occasion has Whitelock ready.
Whitelock said going through the concussion protocol process during the second Test week in Dunedin had been tough because he wanted to be playing.
"Every Test match you are not involved in is tough to watch," he said.
While he was playing his 134th Test, it was one all players wanted to be involved in. It was a series decider and a measure of pressure as individuals and as a team.
Scott Barrett, who will return to the blindside flank, said upon reflection, the side felt their time in Dunedin had not been their best training week that contributed to their performance.
"We've had a good week so far [in Wellington] but we've got a couple more days to go with our preparation," he said.
"We've been challenged individually and naturally you look at yourself before anything else. We've had a good review, a good couple of days. We're excited for what's ahead," he said.
With the emphasis on discipline and cards in games, Barrett said players couldn't be gun shy. It was down to technique.
"Part of playing rugby is you have got to adapt on the run, using a bit of rugby smarts and IQ out there if we do get into those situations. Technically, it's what we do through the week, habits and being able to adjust," he said.
They were anticipating Ireland to play much in the way they have through the first two Tests, playing a fast game, with the ball in hand and coming at them physically.
"If anything, they're probably going to be a little bit more intense in what they are bringing. It makes for an exciting game.
"We need to meet them with that intensity," he said.