Both Dhawan and Rohit were dismissed after scoring identical 80 runs, before skipper Virat Kohli (26 not out off 11 balls) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (7 not out) guided India past 200 with their power hitting.
This is India's biggest partnership for any wicket, eclipsing the previous best of 138 held by Kohli and Rohit, against South Africa in 2015.
Invited to bat after the coin landed in New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson's favour, India were off to a busy start and upped the tempo as overs passed by in veteran seamer Ashish Nehra's final competitive game.
The packed crowd at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium was treated to some delightful -- as well as unorthodox -- cricketing shots by Dhawan and his opening partner Rohit.
Rohit, who got a reprieve on 16, slammed six sixes and four boundaries in his 55-ball knock. The left-handed Dhawan, who represents Delhi in the domestic circuit, blazed his way to 80 off only 52 balls, hitting 10 fours and two sixes.
While Dhawan nearly lost his wicket while getting to his fifty, Rohit brought up the landmark with a six straight over the top of left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner.
Dhawan started the innings with a flurry of boundaries -- flicking one through mid-wicket, hit Trent Boult for boundaries on either side of the wicket and then sliced Tim Southee for same result.
Dhawan was offered a life when he was dropped at point off Boult, and luck also smiled on Rohit who was dropped on long off by Southee. The Mumbaikar was bating on 16 then, and if his eventual score was any indication, the visitors paid a huge price.
Even as Dhawan found the fence from the word go with consummate ease, Rohit switched gears after getting his eye in and then dealt in fours and sixes.
Colin Munro was hit over long-on for a six and having gained in confidence, sat on one knee and smashed Boult as the ball sailed over the fence behind fine leg. Rohit's first big hit of the innings was a slashed six over third man off Southee.
Dhawan launched into spinner Ish Sodhi for a six over his head and followed that up with a boundary. The left-hander then hit Southee over the midwicket for another maximum.