Teenage paceman Mohammad Aamer bowled Tim McIntosh with the first ball of the three-test series, firing a fast yorker through the openers timid defensive shot to give Pakistan a perfect start after it had won the toss and bowled.
Mohammad Asif had Daniel Flynn caught by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal for 8 to leave New Zealand at 27 for two but Guptill, with his first test half century, and Taylor, with his fifth, restored the New Zealand innings in a 117-run, third-wicket partnership.
Both batsmen had nervous moments as Aamer, Asif and Umar Gul _ the Pakistan pace trio _ made good use of a greenish wicket and mild but overcast conditions after captain Mohammad Yousuf won the toss.
Guptill was dropped twice as he improved his previous highest test score of 49 to 60, reaching his maiden half century from 100 balls with nine fours. He offered a chance to Imran Farhat at second slip off Gul when he was 26 and New Zealand was 37-2 and another to Gul at deep fine leg off Aamer when he was 32 and New Zealand was 48-2.
The tall right hander otherwise played with authority in an innings of 213 minutes and 142 balls and under the pressure imposed by the early loss of McIntosh and Flynn. Guptill played some superb straight drives but his downfall was, again, an impulsive pull shot which provided a catch to Fawad Alam off Aamer.
I would have liked to get more but Im happy to get past 50 for the first time, Guptill said.
Taylor struggled early in his innings to judge line and bounce, ducking into short pitched deliveries and taking time to perfect his footwork. He went on to play an innings characteristically peppered with classic shots, including a number of crisp square or cover drives and a six over midwicket which landed outside the leafy University Oval.
Taylor also provided the first test this season of the contentious Umpire Decision Review System when an appeal for lbw by Asif, declined by West Indies umpire Billy Doctrove, was referred to television umpire Rudi Koertzen for re-appraisal.
After reference to video replays and ball tracking technology, Koertzen upheld Doctroves decision.
Taylor reached his half century from 87 balls and moved steadily toward his fifth test century before driving at a wider delivery from off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and edging a catch to Farhat at slip.
New Zealand was 192-4 when Taylor was out but his departure triggered a mini collapse which restored some command of the first day to the tourists. Peter Fulton failed to take advantage of his test recall _ out for 29 _ and allrounder Grant Elliott chased a wide delivery from Asif and fell for eight.
Daniel Vettori was dropped first ball, top-edged a sweep second ball, played and missed third ball but settled to reach 40 not out by stumps while Brendon McCullum, a 47-test veteran who is playing his first test against Pakistan, was 25 not out.
McCullum was saved by the UDRS when he was given out lbw to Asif one ball before stumps. The New Zealand wicketkeeper, supported by his captain, sent the decision to review and replays showed he was hit outside the line of off stump.
Asif finished a hard day with three for 76 from 24 overs and Aamer took 2-62 f