Daniel Flynn and Jesse Ryder both completed half-centuries to help New Zealand post a respectable total of 226 for four on the first day of the opening Test against West Indies on Thursday.
Flynn fell agonisingly short of a maiden Test hundred when he made a career-best 95 and Ryder was unbeaten on 54 when play ended early because of bad light at the University Oval in Dunedin.
Opener Tim McIntosh chipped in with 34 on his debut while West Indies captain Chris Gayle was the pick of the bowlers, capturing three wickets.
Play was halted midway through the final session when New Zealand's batsmen accepted an offer to go off because of the fading light.
The umpires said play would start half an hour early on Friday, with Brendon McCullum not out four after joining Ryder at the crease following Flynn's dismissal.
Flynn departed five runs short of a hundred when he was trapped leg before wicket by Gayle, ending an innings that lasted almost four hours and featured 12 boundaries.
Flynn provided the backbone of New Zealand's recovery, sharing an 87-run partnership with McIntosh, who survived a hostile introduction to test cricket from the West Indian pacemen.
West Indies made a great start after losing the toss when they dismissed Jamie How for 10 in the sixth over of the day, caught by Shivnarine Chanderpaul at point after he attempted a loose drive off the bowling of Daren Powell.
McIntosh took 38 balls before finally getting on the board with a boundary off Fidel Edwards.
The 29-year-old left-hander made it to lunch but threw his wicket away after the re-start when he holed out to Lionel Baker off the bowling of Gayle.
Ross Taylor also succumbed to temptation, trying to sweep slog Gayle and gifting a catch to Xavier Marshall at short midwicket as the tourists briefly put the brakes on New Zealand's scoring.
Flynn and Ryder steadied the innings with a fourth-wicket stand of 61 before Gayle deceived Flynn and the batsman was given out after the appeal was referred to the third umpire, Rudi Koertzen.
New Zealand were forced to reshuffle their batting order at the last minute when all-rounder Jacob Oram withdrew from the match with a calf strain he suffered in training a day earlier.
"It's his own assessment really, it was a selfless decision," New Zealand team manager Lindsay Crocker told reporters.
"He (Oram) felt it was unlikely he would be able to get through the workload we would require of him as an all-round cricketer."
He was replaced by Kyle Mills while McCullum moved up the order to six and James Franklin to seven.
West Indies also awarded first caps to two players, right-arm fast bowler Baker and middle order batsman Brendan Nash, who became the first white player to represent the region in over 35 years.
Nash was born in Australia but his father swam for Jamaica at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.
New Zealand (1st innings):
T McIntosh c Baker b Gayle 34
J How c Chanderpaul b Powell 10
D Flynn lbw Gayle 95
R Taylor c Marshall b Gayle 15
J Ryder not out 54
B McCullum not out 4.
Extras: (lb-10, w-3 nb-1) 14
Total: (for four wickets, 73.2 overs) 226
To bat: J. Franklin, D. Vettori, K. Mills, M. Gillespie, I. O'Brien
Fall of wickets: 1-10, 2-97, 3-128, 4-189
Bowling: Taylor 11-4-32-0, Powell 13.2-5-33-1, Edwards 11-3-46-0, Baker 17-2-61-0 (nb-1 w-2), Gayle 20-1-42-3, Nash 1-0-2-0
West Indies: C Gayle, S Chattergoon, R Sarwan, X Marshall, S Chanderpaul, B Nash, D Ramdin, J Taylor, D Powell, F Edwards, L Baker.