He represented New Zealand Under-21 in 2006 and made his Canterbury debut in the Air New Zealand Cup later that year.
His Super 14 debut followed for the Crusaders in 2007 and he went on to play in all but one of the final 11 matches of the 2007 campaign. In 2010 he moved from the Crusaders to the Hurricanes.
Despite being a strong contender to be part of the New Zealand squad Paterson will team up with former Crusaders Casey Laulala and Ben Blair and ex-Hurricane Paul Tito next season.
Speaking of his decision to join the Blues, Paterson said, "I am thoroughly looking forward to the opportunity of being over there with the New Zealand lads that are playing in Cardiff."
"I have had some pretty sleepless nights over the last couple of weeks but at the end of the day, I had to put a mark in the sand and I have just run with it."
"I had to go to make my own future certain and now I have got some certainty for the next three years."
Speaking of the signing Cardiff Blues Director of Rugby, David Young said,
"We are proud of our record of developing young Welsh talent at the Blues which was very evident with our three try scorers in the Amlin Cup final. Bradley Davies, Leigh Halfpenny and Jamie Roberts are all young Welsh players who we have helped nurture."
"However, we also aim to strengthen our squad with quality signings and Michael is certainly that. He is an experienced rugby player having played for the Crusaders and Hurricanes in the Super 14."
"He is sure to strengthen our backrow and second row options and will also be available to us during the international periods."
"Having won the Amlin Cup this season we are aiming to build on that success and look forward to welcoming Michael to Wales."