Gatland told The Telegraph that he was one of the 26 New Zealanders in the running to be the next All Blacks head coach, vacated by Steve Hansen after the World Cup, but he's chosen to stick with his commitment to lead the Lions to South Africa in 2021 instead.
"They (NZR) appreciated it, they understood it," Gatland said. "I just think it would look poor me applying [for the All Blacks job]. It wouldn't sit well with me, having already made those commitments to the other two parties."
He said he also wanted to remain faithful to the Chiefs, who he signed with in June.