Neil Wagner and Bruce Martin took four wickets apiece as New Zealand shocked England by dismissing the tourists for 167 after lunch on the second day of the first test on Thursday.
Wagner blasted the top off England's vaunted batting order with three wickets - including captain Alastair Cook (10) and Kevin Pietersen in successive deliveries - as the visitors slumped to 81 for five at lunch.
Martin, making his debut at the age of 32, then drove home the advantage in the first hour after the break at University Oval by taking a trio of wickets for himself.
England's bowlers James Anderson and Steve Finn provided some late order resistance with a 47-run partnership but Wagner ended the stand when the latter was caught in the deep by Hamish Rutherford for 20.
Martin wrapped up the innings and put his side in a strong position in a test which lost the entire first day to rain when Wagner caught Anderson for 23 and tea was taken early.
Wagner finished with four for 42 from 11 overs, while Martin had four for 43 from 14.
New Zealand's attack was tidy without being overly penetrating and England's batsmen were largely the architects of their own downfall, paying the price for some loose shots.
Captain Cook failed to get over the top of a short, wide Wagner delivery and was caught by Rutherford at point, while Ian Bell (24) drove at a full delivery from Wagner and Rutherford took a sharp catch at short cover.
Root then half-heartedly fended at a rising Trent Boult delivery and was caught by Dean Brownlie for four to leave the tourists floundering at 71 for five.
The poor decision making continued after lunch with Matt Prior, who looked like he was preparing to take the game away from New Zealand with some aggressive strokes, top-edging Martin to Kane Williamson at backward point for 23.
Jonathan Trott then mistimed a sweep and was well caught by a diving Boult at short backward square in Martin's next over for 45.
Stuart Broad continued the trend when he was caught by Brownlie on the square leg boundary off Martin for 10, one ball after he had successfully taken the ball from outside offstump and swept it to the rope.