The full-back will utilize a break-clause in his contract following the All Blacks' Rugby Championship clash with Australia on August 26, in a bid to prolong his career.
The 31-year-old originally planned to take the sabbatical following the conclusion of this year's Super Rugby season with the Highlanders, but he has instead decided to play in the upcoming double-header against Australia, as concussion issues have restricted his playing time in recent months.
Despite the delay, Smith insists he is relishing the prospect of taking a complete break from the sport.
"I'm not going to play any rugby at all," Smith said. "It's a real chance to take a bit of a break from footy and get my body right. It gives me an opportunity to do some other things that I think will help me."
Smith admits there are no guarantees he will return to the All Blacks fold once his sabbatical concludes, with Israel Dagg, Jordie Barrett and Damian McKenzie all capable of playing at No 15.
"There's always going to be opportunities but if I'm good enough I'll get back, and if I'm not... that's the beauty of the All Blacks. The best players play," Smith added.