England were dismissed for a pitiful 167 to hand New Zealand control of the first Test in Dunedin on day two.
After rain washed out day one, the tourists hoped to post a competitive score in brighter conditions, but a sequence of dreadful strokes put paid to those aspirations.
And New Zealand set about building themselves a match-winning position with the bat, easing to 131 without loss by stumps.
England were ineffective with the ball, and shelled the catching chances they did create, with Stuart Broad and Kevin Pietersen both culpable.
The only consolation the tourists can take is that they can seldom have performed worse in the modern era, and are unlikely to plumb those depths again.
England have turned in several abject batting performances in the opening Tests of away tours in recent times, but this was perhaps the worst of the lot.
The top order lacked application and discipline, perhaps most clearly illustrated by captain Alastair Cook's innings.
Having been dropped on nine at midwicket, he managed just another single before slapping a cut to point the very next over.
Before that his opening partner Nick Compton had departed for a four-ball duck, tentatively playing on a harmless Tim Southee delivery. The next ball after Cook's dismissal, Kevin Pietersen was bested by a full, swinging delivery for the fifth golden duck of his Test career.
Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott threatened to stage a recovery, but having made an elegant 24, Bell picked out short extra cover the moment Brendon McCullum moved him there.
Joe Root (4) was next to perish with an injudicious poke, caught behind off the bowling of Trent Boult, leaving England five down at the lunch break.
Matt Prior (23) got a start, hitting some fine boundaries before misjudging one and handing debutant spinner Bruce Martin the first of four wickets as the tourists crumbled again.
Trott, composed and assured in reaching 45, then suddenly had a rush of blood and top-edged a sweep away for a simple catch, before Stuart Broad (10) holed out at deep square leg.
It spoke volumes about what went before that James Anderson and Steven Finn put on the best partnership of the innings - worth 47 runs - until Finn (20) hoisted a catch to deep midwicket for Wagner's fourth scalp, before Martin accounted for Anderson (23).
By the time England bowled the cloud had dispersed and the ball swung considerably less for Anderson and Finn, while Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton showed tenacity and character to whittle down the lead by stumps.
Rutherford was fluent on debut, reaching 50 in 65 balls, and approaching a century by the close on his home ground. Broad had a chance to claim his wicket via a return catch and missed the ball - he also missed out when Kevin Pietersen seemed to misread the trajectory of the ball in the gully.
Fulton was more methodical and stoic, surviving an early wobble when Broad and Finn rattled him with shorter bowling. But as the session wore on he settled, and played a couple of superbly-timed drives.
England can yet drag themselves back into the Test - but the Black Caps have already exposed how poor England's first innings was, and it will take quite the comeback for the tourists to avoid defeat.