A captain's knock from skipper Brendon McCullum helped New Zealand set England an imposing target of 193 after being sent into bat in the second T20 international in Hamilton on Tuesday.
McCullum, whose team was humbled in the opening fixture in Auckland last Saturday, made a commanding 74, including five sixes and six fours, in his 38-ball innings as the Black Caps seek to level the three-match series.
Openers Martin Guptill (47) and Hamish Rutherford (40) provided a solid platform for McCullum to blast away late in the innings in a display that included three sixes off a Stuart Broad over.
Between them the three scored 10 sixes as New Zealand reached its fourth highest T20 total, taking advantage of Seddon Park's short boundaries to attack from the outset.
Rutherford, who made just 18 in the opening fixture, plundered the bowling to smash 40 in 27 balls, including three sixes, before edging a Luke Wright ball through to the wicketkeeper to give England a breakthrough in the eighth over.
Guptill maintained the pressure after McCullum joined him at the crease but fell on 47 with a failed attempt to reach his half century by slogging spinner James Tredwell over the boundary for six.
New Zealand's momentum appeared to have slowed significantly when Ross Taylor (4), Colin Munro (7) and Grant Elliott (4) were dismissed cheaply, until McCullum unleashed a big-hitting onslaught against Broad.
He brought up his half century in style, sending Broad's delivery over the boundary for six, then followed up with another in the next ball.
He was at it again two balls later, thumping the ball over extra cover to take his third six of the over.
He fell in the penultimate ball of the innings, although James Franklin still managed a four off the final delivery.
Jade Dernbach was the pick of the England bowlers, taking three wickets for 38 runs.