Kane Williamson battled the conditions, a probing West Indies attack and for long periods himself, but along with Tom Latham has put his side in pole position to win the first test of the summer.
That might feel like a premature call after just two sessions – albeit extended sessions – of a five-day test but barring the toss, everything feels like it has fallen New Zealand's way on day one.
Win the toss and bowl felt like the easiest path to victory but there is often greater satisfaction to be found in taking the tough road.
That will be the attitude New Zealand take to the rest of this match after they were inserted onto a wicket that met all the classic aesthetics of a green-top and finished a rain-affected first day 243-2 after 78 absorbing overs.
Williamson, as he often is on this ground, was at the heart of everything, finishing the day on 97. It wasn't his most fluent innings and he played and missed more times than he usually would in a series, but he's still there in touching distance of his 22nd test century.
He'll be joined on Friday by Ross Taylor, who also scores runs on this ground as a matter of habit, who has 31.
This was not a day for the sport to win new fans but it was cricket pornography for the purist.
After the early dismissal of debutant Will Young, the 280th man to represent the Black Caps in tests, two of New Zealand's best ever – yes, it's time to put Tom Latham in that category – went to work.
Williamson's first-session joust with Shannon Gabriel was something to behold. The bowler was quick, accurate and mean. The batsman was, well, williamsony: a clunky adjective that cricket fans will immediately know to mean "unruffled, technical excellence".
Gabriel was hitting the mid-140s regularly and his angle into the batsman can be awkward, but Williamson swayed out of the line effectively and got on top of the ball enough to punch the odd boundary.
Immediately following tea, Williamson got into another scrap, this time with his opposite Jason Holder. This time he didn't have all the answers and the West Indies skipper beat the bat regularly and saw two genuine nicks fall short of his slips.
If anything, Latham's technique was even sounder than his captain's. He left and left and left and waited for the Windies to come to him. When they dropped short he pulled, unfazed by the two men back on the fence. He has holed out hooking on this ground before, but it didn't seem the wisest use of a wicket offering lateral movement off the seam.
As Williamson sat marooned on 49 for what felt like an eternity, 24 balls to be precise, Latham looked like he was playing a different game, flicking through midwicket and gliding the ball both sides of point.
It was a surprise when Kemar Roach, playing just days after the death of his father, ended the 154-run partnership by sneaking one between bat and pad and rattling Latham's stumps.
Taylor flashed a boundary off his first ball and looked mostly untroubled.
It looked so different when the Windies won the toss and inserted New Zealand.
Young wouldn't have been human if he hadn't looked at the colour of the strip and hoped that he would spend his opening hours as a test cricketer in the field.
Instead, he spent a fraught 11 balls at the wicket. In that time he survived a leg before review, nicked one at catchable height between keeper Shane Dowrich – who had an awful day – and first slip, was beaten outside off stump and eventually caught so dead in front by Gabriel that a midwicket conference to discuss the merits of a review with Latham was not required.
That was the high point for the Windies although they can mount a solid argument that their bowling deserved more.
Gabriel, as mentioned, was hostile, and Holder will bowl a lot worse than he did today and end up with much better figures. Such is life.
They will need quick wickets on day two to give themselves a realistic chance of getting back in this match.
Likewise, the formula is pretty simple for New Zealand: bat for most of the day. A new ball is due in two overs and will almost certainly dart around.
Weather that particular storm and a huge total is possible – an only-need-to-bat-once total if everything goes to plan.