Pakistan's Abdul Rehman produced a sustained, tight spell of left-arm spin bowling to take three wickets for 51 runs as New Zealand scrambled to 260 for seven at the close of play on the first day of the first Test at Seddon Park on Friday.
Kane Williamson was on 44 while pace bowler Tim Southee was on 56, his second Test half century, after the hosts had appeared to be in control on 78-1 at lunch only for Pakistan to seize the advantage in the middle session.
Williamson, the last recognised batsmen, and Southee combined for an unbroken 83-run eighth-wicket partnership to at least give New Zealand some respectability at stumps though they would be disappointed after a promising start was squandered.
Rehman, who was introduced for one over in the first session, bowled five successive maidens after the lunch break and 29 overs unchanged before the second new ball was taken, tying down the normally free-flowing New Zealand batsmen.
"I expected (to be bowling on the first day) because the pitch looked quite flat and I prepared in my mind to bowl 20 to 30 overs," Rehman told reporters.
"Spin on the first day is good for spinners and good for me as well. It will definitely spin on day three and day four," he added.
New Zealand lost four wickets after lunch and the visitors' momentum continued after tea when debutant wicketkeeper Reece Young was harshly adjudged leg-before-wicket for 14 off Rehman, though television replays suggested the ball was missing the stumps.
Captain Daniel Vettori's dismissal, however, was more definitive when he trapped by a full delivery from Tanvir Ahmed for a two-ball duck.
Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill had provided New Zealand with a promising start when they steered them to 78 for one at lunch after Tim McIntosh was caught for five by Younus Khan at second slip off Tanvir in only the second over.
Rehman then perfectly executed his side's bowling plan against the aggressive New Zealand batsmen by not allowing them to turn over the strike and restricting their scoring options.
McCullum, who had looked set for a big score, slashed at a short, wide, Umar Gul delivery and was caught by Azhar Ali for 56 at deep backward point, while Taylor, who never looked comfortable, followed shortly after for six when he got a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Adnan Akmal off Rehman.
Guptill and Ryder attempted to rebuild the innings but just as they looked like they were ready to capitalise after a watchful 36-run partnership, Ryder was unlucky to be run out for 22 when Wahab Riaz deflected a well-timed straight drive on to the stumps with the batsmen well down the pitch.
Guptill then brought up his fifth Test half century with a single but threw his wicket away when he hit a Rehman full toss to Misbah-ul-haq at mid-off for 50.
"To put on 80 with Brendon was great but we lost our way after lunch with a few wickets, it's just the way cricket goes," Guptill said.
"We've got to go out tomorrow and try and get as many runs as we can, and try our best to bowl them out," he added.
New Zealand first innings:
T. McIntosh c Younus b Tanvir 5
B. McCullum c Azhar b Gul 56
M. Guptill c Misbah b Rehman 50
R. Taylor c Akmal b Rehman 6
J. Ryder run out 22
K. Williamson batting 44
R. Young lbw b Rehman 14
D. Vettori lbw b Tanvir 0
T. Southee batting 56
Extras: (lb-6, nb-1) 7
Total: (for seven wickets, 90 overs) 260
Fall of wickets: 1-9, 2-92, 3-99, 4-135, 5-158, 6-176, 7-177
Bowling: Gul 20-3-78-1, Tanvir 15-2-54-2, Wahab 17-4-47-0, Younis 6-1-20-0, Rehman 30-13-51-3, Hafeez 2-1-4-0.