New Zealand's BJ Watling celebrates after reaching his double century during the fourth day of the first cricket Test between England and New Zealand at Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui on November 24, 2019.

Mount Maunganui (New Zealand) (AFP) - BJ Watling hit a double century and Mitchell Santner a maiden hundred in a record-breaking innings as New Zealand took a commanding 237-run lead into the tea interval in Mount Maunganui on Sunday.

Watling completed his eighth Test century and was unbeaten on 200 from a marathon 659 minutes at the crease while Santner was out just before the break for 126.

New Zealand reached 590 for seven at the interval on the fourth day, easily passing their previous best against England of 551 for nine at Lord’s 46 years ago.

The Watling-Santner partnership of 261 was a New Zealand seventh-wicket record, surpassing the 225 set by Chris Cairns and Jacob Oram against South Africa 15 years ago.

The England players have spent more than two days in the field and bowled 198 overs under a strong sun and tiring breeze, as Watling lifted New Zealand from a vulnerable position at 197 for five to be firmly in command.

It started with a 119-run stand with Colin de Grandhomme and then the record stand with Santner as the South African-born wicketkeeper batted England out of the game.

Watling and Santner resumed Sunday with New Zealand 394 for six and in a leisurely morning session they added only 58. But the batsmen opened up after lunch against the tiring England attack, plundering 138 in the session up to tea.

Watling, who was dropped by Ben Stokes on 27, set the pace on a wicket offering little encouragement for the bowlers as he moved well past his previous Test best of 142 set five years ago.

Santner took a brutal approach to left-arm spinner Jack Leach, driving three times over the bowlers head for sixes before bringing up his century by turning Ben Stokes to fine leg for two.

He added a further six off Sam Curran before being caught trying to hit the England quick over the long-on boundary for a second time.

Santner’s previous best was 73 against Bangladesh nearly three years ago.

As the New Zealand batsmen hit out, the England attack suffered with the promising Jofra Archer going for more than 100 for the first time in his fledgling career.

He has none for 102 while spinner Jack Leach has none for 133 and England’s most successful bowler Curran has three for 119.