England endured a brutal onslaught from Ross Taylor and Brendon McCullum, but still left themselves the chance of a successful run chase after James Anderson took five for 34 at McLean Park.
Taylor scored exactly 100 in his first significant innings since his controversial sacking as New Zealand captain last year and rejoined forces with his successor McCullum (74).
Their century stand for the fifth wicket changed the momentum but lasted just 53 balls in a total of 269 all out.
McCullum holed out to long-on off Stuart Broad to provide respite after his blitz of nine fours and four sixes off just 36 deliveries. Then Anderson, twice successful with the new ball, returned to help prevent further damage as the last six wickets fell for 26 runs in four overs.
The more sedate statistics of Taylor's 116-ball one-day international hundred - his seventh - were evidence of necessary early caution in his fifth innings since returning to international cricket. He still managed nine fours and his team's first six, and earned a standing ovation when he was finally ninth out - caught behind off Anderson in the penultimate over.
The barrage of sixes and boundaries at the start of the last 10 overs was a startling contrast to the early part of New Zealand's innings, in which Anderson and Steven Finn exerted an iron grip after Alastair Cook had put the hosts in. Finn demonstrated the merit of his new shortened run-up by cranking up the pace to above 90mph and barely bowling a single loose delivery.
But it was England's all-time leading wicket-taker, as of Sunday when he went one ahead of the great Sir an Botham on 529, who was soon adding to his tally again. BJ Watling - Anderson's solitary, milestone victim in England's defeat in Hamilton - succumbed once more, undone by away movement and edging low to Cook at slip.
Anderson doubled up with the wicket of ODI debutant Hamish Rutherford. A double-change, to Chris Woakes (three for 68) and Broad, released the stranglehold as Taylor began to find his timing.
Kane Williamson and Taylor added 72 to give New Zealand a foothold in the match. But Woakes had Williamson chopping on to his stumps as he aimed to fetch the ball from outside off to leg. Grant Elliott kept Taylor company in another half-century stand, only to mis-hook the returning Finn to long-leg in the first over a batting powerplay which yielded 26 runs.
That was a favourable outcome for England, but what followed in the next two overs was not as Taylor and new batsman McCullum signalled their intent. Graeme Swann's final over cost 17, and then Woakes' next 21 - thanks almost entirely to McCullum, who hit the last four balls for 6-4-4-4. There was no hiding place for England until McCullum went, and hastened a collapse around Taylor as others tried and failed to match what had gone before.