Also in the squad wer batsmen Tom Bruce and Glenn Phillips, each of whom made their T20 international debuts earlier in the year, and seam bowler Seth Rance, who has played two ODIs but no T20s. Ish Sodhi has been preferred to Todd Astle in the spin department, though left-arm spinning allrounder Mitchell Santner is also present in the squad.
More players will be rested through this series. Kane Williamson - who is currently on a break - will not return until the second T20, with Tim Southee set to lead in his stead. Trent Boult will also miss the first two T20s, and Ross Taylor will only be available for the first.
Colin de Grandhomme will also slot into this squad when he returns to the country following the death of his father. The date of his return is not known, however.
Kitchen, 33, has been a consistent performer in domestic cricket, and has been in decent form through the start of New Zealand's domestic season. He bowls left-arm spin in addition to batting in the middle order for Otago's T20 side.
"When you add Anaru Kitchen to the likes of Colin Munro, Martin Guptill, Glenn Phillips and Tom Bruce, there's a lot of threats throughout the batting line-up - there are more explosive batting options than ever before," said selector Gavin Larsen. "Anaru has performed superbly for Otago the past couple of seasons and with his ability to bowl as well, he brings a lot to the side."
Guptill missed the ODI series with a hamstring injury, but will likely take up his usual position atop the order in the T20s. The series begins in Nelson on December 29, before moving to Mt. Maunganui for games on January 1 and 3.
Though they have lost all matches on tour so far, West Indies are world champions in the shortest format.
New Zealand squad: Tim Southee (capt. for first T20), Doug Bracewell, Tom Bruce, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Anaru Kitchen, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor (1st T20 only), Kane Williamson (capt. in 2nd and 3rd T20), Trent Boult (3rd T20 only)
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando