The tourists promptly lost their next six wickets for 21 on the way to 335 for nine, and then had no answer to Ross Taylor's brilliance after New Zealand initially faltered to two for two in reply.
But this match belonged to one man - Ross Taylor.
Taylor made a monumental 181 not out from 147 balls - and was batting virtually on one leg by the end after aggravating a thigh injury.
Taylor first added 84 with captain Kane Williamson (45) for the third wicket, then put on 187 for the fourth wicket with Tom Latham (71) with whom he scored 179 to lift New Zealand to victory in the first match of the series at Hamilton.
Throughout his innings, Ross hobbled on one leg but never let up as far as the boundaries were concerned.
His heroics in scoring his 19th ODI century overshadowed a fine batting performance from England, marred by a late collapse that cost them dearly. The fifth and final match will be played on Saturday, March 10 at Christchurch.
Morgan's ambitious pull-shot was a fundamental part of England's collapse, while his promotion of Jos Buttler seemed right at the time, only Isa Sodhi was brought back with his legbreaks to snare Buttler - as he has several times in New Zealand - second ball.
"We just had to give ourselves a chance". Both openers fell for ducks, with Colin Munro wasting New Zealand's only review as he was trapped lbw by Mark Wood's first delivery.
Jonny Bairstow (138) and Joe Root (102) each scored centuries for England but their efforts proved in vain as Taylor blasted 17 fours and six maximums, Henry Nicholls (13 off 12) helping him finish the job. New Zealand came to the 49th over, needing 23 runs from the last 12 balls with two wickets standing.
"If it continues to be a pattern we'll look into it deeply". "They're a great two to bat with", said Taylor.
Ex-England batsman James Taylor: "It looked like complacency - nearly arrogance - from England, to go hell for leather straight up in your innings".
"All four of us that got out for very little all came in and were gutted, because there was a hell of a lot of hard work that was put in to get us in that position.""After a tough start, he got himself in and played his best one-day knock", Williamson said.
Earlier, Bairstow and Root were on target for a record score when the pair were together at 267-1 in the 38th over.
Tom Curran struck four fours from successive balls in the 50th and final over to elevate England to 335-9 - but it could have been so many more.