Daniel Flynn and Jesse Ryder both completed half-centuries to help New Zealand reach 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 century 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 for 42 runs.
Play was halted midway through the final session when New Zealand's batsmen accepted an offer to go off because of the fading light.
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.
Test history was made when Flynn became the first New Zealand batsman to be given out by the umpire referral decision. He was given out leg before wicket by the television umpire after the on-field umpire initially gave him not out.
He 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.
The 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 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 Gayle and gifting a catch to Xavier Marshall.
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.
He was replaced by Kyle Mills while McCullum moved up the order to six and James Franklin to seven.