Captain Ross Taylor led by example as his unbeaten century guided New Zealand to 331-5 at the close of the first day of the one-off Test against Zimbabwe.
Taylor went on to reach 111 not out as New Zealand took control in Napier.
Brendon McCullum had shared an opening stand of 124 with Martin Guptill before the latter was out for 51.
Debutant bowler Shingi Masakadza finally made the breakthrough when Guptill got a thick edge which was taken by wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibu. His half-century came from 109 deliveries and included seven boundaries to leave New Zealand on 124-1.
Ryan Williamson came to the crease but he had made just four when he gifted the visitors his wicket.
Williamson set off for an easy single off after a drive into the covers but McCullum did not move and his attempt to turn back saw him run out after just eight deliveries to leave New Zealand on 131-2.
Captain Taylor was next in and was initially cautious but he soon settled as he hit Graeme Cremer for 11 in one over.
However, McCullum was trapped leg before for 83 by Kyle Jarvis shortly after tea, leaving the hosts on 195-3.
Dean Brownlie failed to trouble the scorers as he departed for a duck, with a thick edge off a Hamilton Masakadza delivery gratefully accepted by Taiba.
Taylor was on fire, though, as he hit Cremer for 17 off one over, while Daniel Vettori had quickly got into the swing.
Vettori's quickfire 46-ball cameo came to an end when he was stumped by Taibu off Cremer for 38.
Taylor then brought up his century with a four off Vitori as his team finished the day with a healthy total.