Pakistan resumed its first innings at 30-1 with Abid Ali 19 not out and nightwatchman Mohammad Abbas yet to score.
At lunch captain Mohammad Rizwan was 6 not out and Fawad Alam was 5 and only 32 runs had been scored from 26 overs in the first session.
The overnight pair, especially Abbas, frustrated the New Zealand bowlers at the start of the day's play, looking secure against all efforts by seamers Tim Southee and Trent Boult.
Abbas played the classic nightwatchman role, taking 37 balls to get off the mark and offering few chances.
New Zealand tried spin for the first time in the 31st over, the ninth of the morning, when left-armer Mitchell Santner was called on and bowled a testing maiden over to start.
But it was pace, notably the pace of Kyle Jamieson, which made the first breakthrough of the day. Jamieson is playing only his fifth test but already has become a go-to man for New Zealand captain Kyle Williamson.
Jamieson's extra height and bounce creates chances and he has taken 22 wickets in his short career at an average of 13.5. By lunch he had 2-7 from 11 overs eight of which were maidens.
Jamieson first troubled Abid with a ball which reared disconcertingly off a length. He then bowled Abid with a full delivery, angled in on off stump as the batsman hovered on his crease.
Williamson immediately brought back Trent Boult who bowled round the wicket to Abbas and had him caught at slip by Ross Taylor with the last ball of his new over.
The Pakistan batsmen became focused on survival and the scoring rate all but ground to a halt.
That mindset made them more vulnerable, causing batsmen to become too tentative in their footwork, more reluctant to leave outside off stump.
Azhar Ali (5) dangled his bat at a ball from Southee which was wide off, angling away. His faint edge to wicketkeeper B.J. Watling wasn't heard by the umpire but couldn't deceive the television replay.
Four balls later Southee dismissed Haris Sohail (3) who drove at a slower ball which may have swung later. Without using his feet, he made poor contact and skewed the ball to Henry Nicholls in the gully.
New Zealand's first innings of 431 was built around Williamson's 129 and his century partnerships with Taylor (70) and Nicholls (56). But Williamson said scoring was difficult on a pitch which is sometimes two-paced.
Pakistan's overly-defensive approach accentuated the difficult of scoring runs in those conditions.