Ross Taylor rescued New Zealand from another disastrous start in the battle to keep the one-day series against India alive in Mount Maunganui on Monday.
The hosts were once again in early trouble at two for 26 before Taylor crafted his 93.
New Zealand's 243 was their highest score so far in the series and the longest they have batted, with the last wicket falling at the end of the 49th over.
India has already notched two resounding wins and are looking to wrap up the five-match series with two games to spare.
It looked like another early finish for New Zealand until Tom Latham joined Taylor and the pair put on 119 for the fourth wicket.
Latham made his 13th half-century but was dismissed for 51, igniting another collapse which saw the last six wickets fall for only 52 runs.
New Zealand coach David Stead had predicted a par score of 260 for the match, which was played on the same wicket as Saturday's second ODI.
But getting close to that mark looked a tall order after the visitors saw off the openers inside seven overs, sending Kane Williamson and Taylor to the middle long before expected.
Spinner Yuzvendra Chahal tied Williamson down until the New Zealand skipper tried to hit himself out of trouble and was caught by a diving Hardik Pandya at mid-wicket.
Williamson faced 48 deliveries for his 28 and his departure left New Zealand at three for 59.
Taylor was content to look for singles early in his innings before a rare boundary took him to 50 off 71 deliveries.
His innings came to an abrupt end when he edged Mohammed Shami's delivery to wicketkeeper Dinesh Karthik.
He faced 106 deliveries for his 93, including nine boundaries.
For the visitors, Shami took three for 41 while Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Chahal and Pandya took two wickets apiece.