New Zealand survived a middle-overs assault by Kevin Pietersen and Dimitri Mascarenhas, who hit Jeetan Patel for four successive sixes, to restrict England to 184-8 in its innings in the first National Bank Twenty20 international at Eden Park.
New Zealand decided to bowl first after Brendon McCullum won the toss.
Chris Martin found some early movement off the pitch and bowled through his four overs. While he claimed the wickets of Luke Wright (1) and Phil Mustard (20), he also came in for some treatment from Kevin Pietersen, easily the most impressive of the England batsmen.
While Pietersen chanced his luck with French cuts and shots through the usual slips area, he also unleashed some fearful blows including a tennis-like forearm smash from Martin's bowling which flew high over wide long-on.
Martin ended with 2-34 from his four overs.
His replacement, off-spinner Jeetan Patel had just conceded a boundary to Pietersen when he advanced down the pitch only to pick out Ross Taylor getting down low at mid-on to secure a superb catch to send him packing for 43 off 23 balls.
By the end of the 10th over, the halfway stage, England was 86-4.
Paul Collingwood and Owais Shah worked on building up their partnership by moving the ball around the field but the introduction of Jesse Ryder in place of Jeetan Patel resulted in a wicket second ball, Shah leg before wicket for 23 off 17 balls.
Ryder conceded only two runs from his first over to provide a significant anchor to the England scoring rate
Dimitri Mascarenhas joined his skipper but was all at sea attempting to deal with Jacob Oram's last over and he ended his four over spell with 1-24.
However, McCullum's recall of Patel after Ryder's over proved costly as Mascarenhas got his range and hit four successive sixes high over long on to lift the score after 16 overs to 148-5.
Mascarenhas then set his sights on Kyle Mills, only to have a hard chance dropped by a diving Ryder at mid-wicket. Then off the next ball, he attempted a wipe shot to third man, but sent it straight to Patel on the boundary, his innings ending on 31 off 14 balls.
His loss, followed in the next over by Collingwood effectively reduced the last few overs to run accumulation by the lower order.