Mathew Sinclair and Jacob Oram completed half-centuries to help New Zealand recover from an early batting collapse and reach 250 for seven at the end of the opening day of the first Test against Australia at Brisbane on Thursday.
Sinclair made a patient 69 in almost four hours while Oram blasted an unbeaten 63 to guide the Kiwis to a respectable position after they had seemed destined for a much lower total.
"This is day one of a five-dayer and this is building towards a very good Test match," Sinclair told a news conference.
"We've got to pick up what we can and look to carry on but we've got a good building block and we've still got some good batsmen to come in."
Things were looking grim for the tourists when they limped to 142-5 at tea after Michael Kasprowicz had ripped through the top order with an inspired display of fast bowling on a Gabba pitch ideal for batting.
But the New Zealand lower order added 108 runs for the loss of just two wickets in the final session to deny the Australians a quick kill.
"The job's not done yet but the general feeling with us is that it was a pretty satisfying day because it was an excellent batting wicket out there," Kasprowicz said.
"When they were seven down, I suppose you feel like you should just roll through the last three wickets but their batting does go down a long way and they've got some very good players."
New Zealand had made a bright enough start after winning the toss before Kasprowicz snapped up two wickets in four balls to leave them reeling at 26-2.
Opener Mark Richardson fell for 19 when he fended a ball that moved away from him to Ricky Ponting at second slip then captain Stephen Fleming departed for a duck when he edged to Shane Warne at first slip.
Sinclair, who had averaged just 12 in his previous six Tests against Australia, slowly set about rebuilding the Kiwi innings, sharing successive half-century partnerships with Scott Styris then Nathan Astle.
Styris was dismissed for 27 after the lunch break when he nicked Kasprowicz behind to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist then Astle was run out for 19 after Michael Clarke threw down the stumps from 30 metres away in a brilliant piece of fielding.
Sinclair was almost run out by Clarke on 13 but survived and held the Australians at bay for most of the day until his innings eventually came to an end when Ponting held a low catch off Gillespie at slip, albeit after the third umpire Peter Parker was called on to confirm the ball had carried through.
"It was a goal for me to go out there and do well against an Australian side because I thought they played very well," Sinclair said.
"Patience was definitely the key but for me personally it was a bit disappointing that I didn't capitalise and go on and make a bigger score."
With the top order already back in the pavilion, New Zealand's hopes of posting a competitive total seemed to be fading until Oram staged his own recovery.
The giant all-rounder, who stands almost two metres tall, blasted nine boundaries, including three in succession off Gillespie, to register his fifth Test fifty and finish the day with his wicket intact and Daniel Vettori with him on 13.
Craig McMillan also chipped in with a valuable 23 before he was caught behind off Shane Warne, who also claimed the scalp of Brendon McCullum when he tempted him down the pitch and Gilchrist had him stumped.
"There's a lot of cricket left in the game so we have to get three early wickets tomorrow then bat well," Kasprowicz said.
"I suppose the New Zealanders are known as pretty patient players, that's one of their strengths, so we'll have to do be patient as well and just keep the pressure on."
New Zealand first innings
M.Richardson c Ponting b Kasprowicz 19
M.Sinclair c Ponting b Gillespie 69
S.Fleming c Warne b Kasprowicz 0
S.Styris c Gilchrist b Kasprowicz 27
N.Astle run out 19
C.McMillan c Gilchrist b Warne 23
J.Oram not out 63
B.McCullum st Gilchrist b Warne 10
D.Vettori not out 13
Extras (b-1 lb-1 nb-4 w-1) 7
Total (for seven wickets, 90 overs) 250
To bat: K.Mills, C.Martin
Fall of wickets: 1-26 2-26 3-77 4-138 5-138 6-180 7-206
Bowling: McGrath 22-3-56-0 (nb-2), Gillespie 22-5-61-1, Kasprowicz 20-5-54-3 (nb-2), Warne 22-2-65-2 (w-1), Lehmann 4-0-12-0
Australia: R.Ponting (captain), J.Langer, M.Hayden, D.Martyn, D.Lehmann, M.Clarke, A.Gilchrist, S.Warne, J.Gillespie, M.Kasprowicz, G.McGrath.