Cairns struck nine sixes and 10 fours on his way to 120 off 96 balls on the fourth day of the deciding Test. His six-hitting ranked second only to Walter Hammond for the most sixes in a Test innings; Hammond hit 10 for England, against New Zealand on the same ground in 1933.
Cairns' first Test hundred came off 86 balls, the second fastest by a New Zealander after Bruce Taylor's 83-ball effort against the West Indies in 1969.
Earlier Craig Spearman scored his maiden Test century as he and Roger Twose added 214 for the first wicket.
(Fourth day; New Zealand won toss)
NEW ZEALAND - First Innings 251 (S P Fleming 84, C L Cairns 57)
ZIMBABWE - First Innings 326 (D L Houghton 104)
NEW ZEALAND - Second Innings
(Overnight: 138 for 0)
C J Spearman c Carlisle b Streak 112
R G Twose c and b Streak 94
S P Fleming c Wishart b Streak 3
A C Parore not out 76
N J Astle c A Flower b Brandes 13
C L Cairns b Streak 120
*L K Germon not out 1
Extras (b6 lb15 nb1) 22
Total (for 5 dec, 133 overs) 441
Fall: 1-214 2-217 3-221 4-261 5-427
Did not bat: D N Patel, G R Larsen, R A Kennedy, G J Allott.
Bowling: Streak 30-7-110-4; Brandes 13-3-41-1; B Strang 27-8-64-0; Whittall 13-4-40-0; P Strang 43-7-142-0; Campbell 2-0-3-0; G Flower 5-0-20-0.
ZIMBABWE - Second Innings
G W Flower not out 22
S V Carlisle not out 14
Extras (lb1 nb2) 3
Total (for 0, 19 overs) 39
To bat: *A Flower, A D R Campbell, D L Houghton, G J Whittall, P A Strang, H H Streak, C Wishart, E A Brandes, B Strang.
Bowling: Allott 3-1-3-0; Cairns 5-1-11-0; Kennedy 7-1-13-0; Patel 4-0- 11-0.Reuse content