Henry has named two new caps - centre Casey Laulala and scrum-half Piri Weepu - in a side captained by star flanker Richie McCaw. In another of the nine changes from the side who beat Italy 59-10 last weekend, captain Umaga has been rested for the tour finale against France in Marseilles on Saturday week.
"I think we've fielded a strong Test team," Henry replied when asked if dropping the captain was a sign of disrespect to Wales - who haven't beaten New Zealand since 1953. "Centre is probably the strongest position in New Zealand rugby and we've opted to give Casey Laulala and Aaron Mauger a run.
"Richie McCaw captained Canterbury to an NPC win and we were very impressed by what he did during that campaign. He's an All Black captain of the future, and we've decided to blood him against New Zealand.
"Casey deserves his cap and we see Piri Weepu as a real player of the future - I thought he was the player of the NPC this season."
Henry said Wales' recent good performances against South Africa and Romania hadn't gone unnoticed by the All Black camp.
"They are playing to their strengths and producing some skilful, attacking rugby," the former Wales coach said. "We were very impressed by their performance against the South Africans."
Henry described matches between New Zealand and Wales - who first played each other in Cardiff 99 years ago - as "huge fixtures".
"We are the only two nations in the world where rugby is part of the culture, the fabric and the history of the country," he said. "This will always be a big game and Saturday's match will be played at the best rugby ground in the world."
In other changes from the Italy rout, winger Doug Howlett has shaken off shoulder and hamstring injuries to cement a starting place at the Stadium where he scored a brace of tries in 2002 - a 43-17 win for the All Blacks.
Wales have lost their last 16 meetings with the All Blacks and will be trying to end a 51-year drought when the two sides meet on Saturday.
Malili Muliaina (Auckland)
Doug Howlett (Auckland)
Casey Laulala (Canterbury)
Aaron Mauger (Canterbury)
Joe Rokocoko (Auckland)
Daniel Carter (Canterbury)
Piri Weepu (Wellington)
Tony Woodcock (North Harbour
Keven Mealamu (Auckland)
Greg Somerville (Canterbury)
Chris Jack (Canterbury)
Ali Williams (Auckland)
Rodney So'oialo (Wellington)
Richard McCaw (Canterbury, Capt)
Mose Tuiali'i (Auckland)
Anton Oliver (Otago)
Carl Hayman (Otago)
Reuben Thorne (Canterbury)
Marty Holah (Waikato)
Byron Kelleher (Waikato)
Ma'a Nonu (Wellington)
Rico Gear (North Harbour)