The West Indies delight at winning the toss on a lush green wicket turned to frustration as New Zealand were rarely troubled in posting 243/2 on day one of the first Test in Hamilton on Thursday.
Kane Williamson, despite being troubled with cramp late in the day, produced a masterful innings to be unbeaten on 97 at stumps with Ross Taylor on 31.
Williamson featured in a 154-run stand with Tom Latham for the second wicket before Latham was bowled for 86.
After the start of play was delayed two hours by rain, the West Indies were delighted to win the toss with an emerald wicket that potentially offered untold demons for their pace attack.
But after Shannon Gabriel bowled debutant Will Young early for five, the tourists found they did not getting the assistance they expected from the wicket.
Williamson, who will resume on Friday requiring just three runs to register his 22nd Test century, worked patiently with Latham for more than 50 overs, waiting for bad balls to hit as the pair were rarely tempted to play shots at anything else.
Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Holder could not keep a consistent line and saw rare chances spoiled by fielding errors.
The 2.01 metre (6ft 7in) Holder used his height to extract some bounce but the no-risk approach of Latham and Williamson served only to tire the big Barbadian.
Wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich had an uncomfortable day by failing to get a glove to a chance from Young and then he did not appeal when it appeared he had caught Latham on 43 off Holder, who also kept quiet.
On 80, Latham was well out of his crease when he aborted an attempted cheeky single, but Shamarh Brooks’ shy at the stumps went well wide.