Brendon McCullum produced a match winning innings while a limping Martin Guptill returned after retiring hurt to guide New Zealand to a three-wicket victory over England in their first one-day international at Seddon Park on Sunday.
McCullum finished on 69 while Guptill, who retired hurt on three after he strained his left hamstring only to return when New Zealand were 218 for seven, was on 27 as the hosts scored 259-7 in 48.5 overs, having bowled England out for 258.
The 31-year-old McCullum had needed to provide the game-winning innings after he ran out Kane Williamson earlier when New Zealand appeared well placed for victory at 142-3 in the 34th over.
The dismissal came with Williamson on 74 and McCullum starting to look settled as the batting power play approached.
Williamson, who had been the most assured of New Zealand's batsmen, guiding the ball around the ground with ease, was run out when McCullum called for a single, changed his mind and left his partner short of his ground at the non-striker's end.
His departure produced a tighter-than-expected finish as New Zealand wickets fell regularly before McCullum seized the initiative and Guptill returned to flail away and give the hosts a 1-0 series lead.
England were dismissed for 258 in the final over of their innings after Ian Bell (64), Jonathan Trott (68) and Joe Root (56), provided a platform from which England could attack in the final overs but the visitors failed to capitalise on the small ground hosting the opener of the three-match series.
Trott's dismissal at 184-3 in the 39th over actually sparked a dramatic loss of momentum as the visitors went on to lose their final six wickets for 38 runs in six overs.
Mitchell McClenaghan finished with figures of four for 56 from 9.4 overs but he picked up a side strain that his captain believes could rule him out for the remainder of the series.
James Franklin also bowled well for the hosts and returned figures of 3-38
A. Cook b McClenaghan 4
I. Bell c B. McCullum b Franklin 64
J. Trott b Mills 68
J. Root b Franklin 56
E. Morgan c Guptill b Mills 1
J. Buttler c Elliott b McClenaghan 21
C. Woakes c B. McCullum b Ellis 17
S. Broad c B. McCullum b McClenaghan 1
G. Swann c Taylor b Franklin 16
S. Finn c Guptill b McClenaghan 0
J. Anderson not out 0
Extras (lb-4, w-5, nb-1) 10
Total (all out, 49.3 overs) 258
Fall of wickets: 1-11, 2-95, 3-184, 4-190, 5-220, 6-222, 7-228, 8-247, 9-248
Bowling: Mills 10-2-32-2, McClenaghan 9.4-0-56-4 (w-2), Ellis 10-0-67-1 (w-2, nb-1), N. McCullum 10-0-42-0, Franklin 6.3-0-38-3, Williamson 2.2-0-12-0, Elliott 1-0-7-0 (w-1)
New Zealand Innings
BJ Watling b Anderson 2
M. Guptill not out 27
K. Williamson run out 74
R. Taylor c Finn b Woakes 22
G. Elliott c Morgan b Woakes 22
B. McCullum not out 69
J. Franklin c Buttler b Finn 3
N. McCullum lbw b Swann 14
A. Ellis c Finn b Broad 13
Extras (lb-7, w-6) 13
Total (for seven wickets, 48.5 overs) 259
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-75, 3-124, 4-142, 5-155, 6-186, 7-218
Bowling: Anderson 9-1-36-1 (w-1), Finn 10-0-54-1 (w-3), Broad 9.5-1-56-1 (w-2), Woakes 10-0-52-2, Swann 10-0-54-1
Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images