Taylor made a brilliant 113 for the Black Caps as they chased down 285 to win the first of five ODIs.
For England, Jos Buttler and Joe Root were the stars with the bat as they both made half-centuries repetitively but it wasn't enough as they fell to defeat and will now need to bounce back in the next game.
Black Caps chose to bowl first as Stokes made his England return
Kane Williamson called right at the toss and chose to bowl first with the key team news at the middle being that Ben Stokes returned to the England team after being left out since September for disciplinary reasons.
Williamson's call at the toss looked a good one early on as Trent Boult removed the dangerous Jonny Bairstow for four.
Roy and Root got England off to a good start
That brought Root to the crease to join Jason Roy as the pair looked to build a partnership to lay the platform for the rest of the team.
The pair looked assured at the crease until Mitchell Santner came onto bowl and he broke the partnership on 79 when he bowled Roy for 49.
Ish Sodhi was then introduced to the attack by Williamson and he soon got into the action as he removed Eoin Morgan for eight to reduce the visitors to 104-3.
Root passed yet another half-century
Root though once again showed his class for the visitors as he passed yet another half-century as he held the key to helping the visitors to get up to a competitive score.
Stokes was the man at the other end for the visitors and just as he looked to get into his stride, Santner removed him for 12.
The wicket of Stokes brought the big big hitting Buttler to the crease to join Root and the pair started to push the score forward until Colin Munro, got the breakthrough for the hosts when he removed Root for 71.
Moeen Ali was next at the crease and alongside Buttler the pair took the visitors passed the 200 mark.
Buttler blasted a half-century as the hosts kept it tight towards the end of first innings
Ali though as he normally does, played one big shot too many as Sodhi removed him for 28, leaving Buttler with some work to do.
Buttler though seems to like that challenge as he brought up his half-century as he and Chris Woakes tried to keep the runs flowing towards the end of the innings.
Boult and Tim Southee though we're proving difficult to get away as Boult removed Woakes for 11.
Buttler tried his best to keep going but he was run out off the penultimate ball of the innings for 79 as the visitors ended their 50 overs on 284-8 which was competitive if they bowled well.
Early wickets gave England a chance
In reply, the hosts lost three very early wickets to give the visitors real belief that that they could go on and get the win.
Woakes got the first wicket for the visitors as he removed the dangerous Munro for six, before David Willey removed Williamson for eight.
Woakes then got his second of the innings as he removed Martin Guptill for 13 as the hosts were reduced to 27-3 early on and in need of a big partnership to get them back into the game.
Latham and Taylor's brilliant partnership put the hosts in a brilliant position
That is exactly what they got as Taylor and Tom Latham put on 178 for the fourth wicket as both batsmen passed their half-centuries in the partnership.
The dangerous partnership was finally broken by Stokes as he removed Latham for 79 to give the visitors a much needed breakthrough.
As so often happens, one wicket brought more as Tom Curran removed Henry Nicholls for a duck, before Stokes claimed his second wicket as he removed Colin de Grandhomme for two to reduce the home side to 215-6.
Taylor passed his century before Rashid removed him for 113
Taylor though was still at the crease for the hosts and he went passed his century much to the delight of himself and his teammates.
It needed something special to remove Taylor and that is what happened when Adil Rashid removed him for 113 when he had him stumped by Buttler.
Late hitting from Santner saw the Black Caps home by three wickets
Santner though wasn't going to be fazed as he finished the game in great fashion with some big hits to finish on 45 to see his side to victory in the opening match by three wickets with four balls remaining in the innings.
It means that the two sides will now move to the Bay Oval on Wednesday for the second match of their five match series as England will look to come back and level the series.