State Canterbury Wizards youngster Leighton Burtt claimed five wickets, but two seasoned State Wellington Firebirds campaigners led their side to a healthy total at the Basin Reserve.
Burtt cost just 30 runs off 18 overs – including 11 maidens - after the hosts elected to bat first for his maiden first-class five-bag.
Neal and Michael Parlane put on 139 for the fourth wicket, the former making 52 and the latter striking his 13th first class century and second of the campaign.
Iain Robertson accounted for both brothers, with Burtt then claiming three quick wickets to instigate a mid-order wobble.
However, Grant Elliot (36 not out) and Iain O’Brien (30no) steadied the nerves with an unbroken stand of 50 to leave the Firebirds on 314 for eight at stumps.