Martin Guptill and Daniel Flynn battled hostile pace bowling to guide New Zealand to 65 for no loss at the close of play on the third day of the final test against South Africa at the Basin Reserve on Sunday.
The pair's opening stand was the highest of the series against South Africa and only the second time New Zealand's openers have passed 50 in the southern hemisphere summer.
Guptill and Brendon McCullum posted 124 against Zimbabwe in Napier in January.
Guptill was on 28, while Flynn, who was struck at least twice on the body as he tried to duck, weave and bob his way past the short-pitched bowling, was on 35 after the first full day's play in the weather-hit third test.
The first two days of the match had been badly affected by rain with more than seven hours play lost, while both days also ended early due to bad light.
South Africa captain Graeme Smith had declared the visitors' first innings closed at 474 for nine shortly after tea, with Mark Gillespie taking six for 113.
Vernon Philander (29) was the final wicket to fall when he was caught on the boundary by Flynn to give Gillespie his sixth victim, following up his five for 59 in the second test in Hamilton.
"To get six wickets was a pretty good feeling," Gillespie said. "It's a pretty flat wicket and ... they have got quality batters.
"On the really flat Basin pitch you just have to keep running in and bending your back and you can get rewards out of it, but it's such a flat wicket it's pretty tough.
"Today I had my wife, my parents, my brothers and their families were here. To do it on my home ground in front of them was pretty special."
Alviro Petersen top scored with 156, while JP Duminy scored 103 for the visitors, who look to have batted New Zealand out of the test and series.
South Africa have a 1-0 lead in the three-match series following their nine-wicket victory in the second test at Seddon Park in Hamilton, where they bowled New Zealand out for under 200 in both innings.
"The wicket played really nicely and it looks like a good wicket now," Petersen said. "Don't know if anything can change in the morning. What we can do is try and build a lot of pressure on them.
"We did that but then towards the end we just released a little. We've seen in the whole series, once they are two or three down, things could happen for us.
"So we are probably just three or four wickets away."