Quad series champions New Zealand beat England 62-55 in the first game of their three-match Test series for the Taini Jamison Trophy.
England beat the Silver Ferns 49-45 in the recent Quad Series but were unable to repeat their performance on Thursday.
New Zealand, buoyed by the return of experienced shooter Maria Tutaia, led by two going into the final quarter.
And Tutaia finished strongly as England collapsed in the closing stages.
Tracey Neville's side had secured only their fifth victory over New Zealand in 88 meetings in Auckland last week, courtesy of a determined final quarter.
But the last 15 minutes proved to be England's downfall on Thursday as a string of errors handed New Zealand a narrow win.
Roses goalkeeper Geva Mentor had led the England defence in the first half with a commanding circle performance against Bailey Mes, but 108-cap Tutaia's cool head proved decisive.
Absent from her side's defeat to England last week and their 57-47 victory over Australia to lift the Quad series title, Tutaia sank her trademark long shots with ease under huge pressure at the death.
Her 31 goals from 37 attempts were matched by England goalshooter Jo Harten but Neville's side struggled to get ball to goal as a second consecutive victory over the Silver Ferns slipped through their fingers.
England now travel to Napier for the second Test on Sunday before the final game in Hamilton on Wednesday.
New Zealand starting line-up: GS - Mes, GA - Tutaia, WA - Crampton, C - Francois, WD - Cullen, GD - Grant, GK - Watson.
England starting line-up: GS - Harten, GA - Housby, WA - Pitman, C - Bayman, WD - Guthrie, GD - Agbeze, GK - Mentor.