Brendan McCullum’s Black Caps set a ground record total of 4-201 after an impressive stand from the captain (68) and young gun Hamish Rutherford (62) of 114 off 67 balls for the second wicket.
Ross Taylor smacked a quick-fire 32 not out to lead them past the 200 mark.
Set a mountain to climb, England made a great fist of their chase, led by Luke Wright (52) who accelerated their run rate after a steady start to be 1-105 after 10 overs and well on track.
When opener Alex Hales (39) fell, England were in the box seat with noted hitters Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Jos Buttler still in the sheds.
But they were unable to do what’s only been done three times in this format, chase down a score of more than 200.
Highlights of New Zealand’s resurgence in the game came with a scorcher of a catch from Taylor to get rid of Morgan (7) and a run-out from Tom Latham with the keeping glove still on to dismiss dangerous Buttler with eight balls remaining in the match.
Ben Stokes smashed Corey Anderson for six off the first ball of the last over, but restricted them to just 10 off it.
They meet again at the same venue on Thursday.
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