Mauger, who played 89 Tests for the All Blacks, will take over from Tony Brown, who will move to Japan.
“Aaron has demonstrated to us the passion, commitment and dedication to coaching at the club that we believe are vital at this level and will lead an experienced coaching and management group,” Highlanders CEO Roger Clark said.
Mauger, 36, made 89 appearances for the Crusaders between 2000 and 2007 in the SuperRugby.
“The Highlanders have a solid foundation of good core values and a tight-knit culture,” Mauger said.
“It’s a credit to all those who have worked hard to establish an environment that allows people to express themselves and thrive as individuals.
“I am excited at the prospect of working with this team to help further the Highlanders.”
The Highlanders reached the SuperRugby quarterfinals this season, before being knocked out by the Crusaders.