Stead has succeeded the outgoing Mike Hesson, who resigned earlier this year.
The 46-year-old Stead has received a two-year-contract – and 2019’s World Cup in the United Kingdom is near the top of his agenda.
“The World Cup is no doubt a strategic priority for New Zealand Cricket and it’s high on the agenda and I’m acutely aware of the importance of that, but there are other things that are important as well,” said Stead.
“I want to get to know their motivations and what makes them tick and how they want me to operate and how they feel I can get the best out of them as well. Those types of things are the most important things for me in the short term.
“I continue to drive towards making players who are self sufficient and can make good decisions on the field. I really get a kick out of seeing people improve.”
The right-handed Stead, who played five Tests in 1999 and the last of 101 first-clas matches in 2006, previously worked with New Zealand as a batting coach. He also coached the national women’s team in the 2009 World Cup and 2010 World T20.
“I continue to drive towards making players who are self-sufficient and can make good decisions on the field. I really get a kick out of seeing people improve” he added.
New Zealand’s next assignment is October’s series against Pakistan in the UAE.