Devon Conway starred with the bat at Hagley Oval as New Zealand won the first of five Twenty20 clashes with Australia by 53 runs.
Conway was 99 not out, becoming the first New Zealand player to score five successive T20 half centuries, as the Black Caps posted 184-5.
A fine showing with the ball, led by Ish Sodhi's 4-28, limited Australia to 131 all out in reply as the hosts enjoyed a dominant victory in Christchurch, a city remembering the devastating earthquakes that struck 10 years ago.
Martin Guptill started this match needing 12 runs to surpass Brendon McCullum's record as the highest run-scorer in this fixture (228) but was dismissed for a duck, caught at backward point off the bowling of Daniel Sams.
New Zealand looked to be in serious trouble when captain Kane Williamson's departure in the fourth over left them on 19-3 and with a lot of work to do.
But Conway laid the foundations with a fine knock, which came up just shy of yielding a century despite 10 fours and three maximums.
99* - Devon Conway's score of 99* in this evening's #NZvAUS men's T20I is the second highest by a @BLACKCAPS player in the format in Christchurch (Brendon McCullum - 116* v Australia, 28 February 2010). Masterful. pic.twitter.com/hKQ2HB3DaW— OptaJason (@OptaJason) February 22, 2021
Conway was on 88 when he got on strike with three balls left, sending the first for a six and the next one for four, but he could only manage a single off the final delivery.
Aaron Finch's side, having lost back-to-back series against England and India, toiled in response.
Finch himself fell inside the first over and that set the tone, with Australia languishing on 19-4 by the fifth over.
Sodhi was the tormentor-in-chief for the tourists' mid-to-lower order, accounting for Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Sams and Kane Richardson.
Jhye Richardson, who fetched a "life-changing" bid at the Indian Premier League auction, was the last man to fall in a substandard innings from Australia that was ended after 17.3 overs.
This was just the second home win for New Zealand over Australia in this format in six attempts, with the teams set to meet again on Thursday.