Burns, the club's 2014-2015 Player of the Year, has signed for the A-League club from Sanfrecce Hiroshima and could feature in Phoenix's upcoming home games against Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers.
"I've had some very positive experiences overseas, in Japan but also playing with the [Australian] national team, but I'm ready to come back," said Burns.
"When I was in Wellington I was playing really well, it was probably the highlight of my career, I had good players around me, guys like Roy and Mikey who are still here, and as soon as I landed again I felt happy to be in the city, it feels like home.
“With the [January window] opening I've had plenty of offers from A-League and around Asia but when I heard Phoenix were keen that was my first choice.
"The fans here are tremendous, the people in New Zealand are some of the nicest you'll meet and I feel almost a little sense of unfinished business – you're never out in the A-League, a few wins and you can make a late charge for the finals and then who knows."
Phoenix general manager David Dome said he was delighted to be able to bring the Socceroos attacker back to the club.
"We're absolutely delighted to have Nathan back," said Dome. "He's a player with a top, top pedigree, a tremendous work ethic and ambition to succeed and he's somebody that's synonymous with some of the best times we've seen at this club.
"Nathan is a player that any A-League club would want – so it's a real feather in our cap that he's chosen to come back to Wellington.
"We're not accepting our current position on the table, we haven't given up on this season. We've gone through a major rebuild of our footballing department and it's so positive to see that quality players still want to buy-in into what we're doing."
Phoenix are currently bottom of the ladder with just one win from 11 games, and have recently parted company with assistant coach Rado Vidosic plus stars Dario Vidosic and Gui Finkler.