At stumps, New Zealand were 286 for seven with Tom Blundell on 12 and Neil Wagner on one.
After a rollicking start, in which New Zealand punished some wayward bowling, they reached 154 for one before an initial slump saw them fall to 189 for five.
Lusty hitting by first Test centurymaker Colin de Grandhomme (58 off 63 balls) and Mitchell Santner (24) revived the innings in a rapid 76-run stand before Gabriel took the new ball and bowled them both.
The West Indies had been let down by their bowlers early in the innings after winning the toss and putting New Zealand in to bat.
Jeet Raval and Tom Latham put on 65 for the first wicket and Raval and Kane Williamson added further 89 for the second before the West Indies produced a golden spell either side of the tea break.
In 74 balls, and for only 35 runs, they removed Williamson, Raval, Ross Taylor and Henry Nicholls.
It was a rapid change of fortune for New Zealand who had cashed in at the start of the day when Kumar Roach and Gabriel struggled to maintain a consistent line and length, with Gabriel going for 22 in his first two overs.
But when the tourists switched to a short-ball attack the game turned with the dismissal of Williamson, caught behind by Shane Dowrich off Miguel Cummins.
Dowrich caught the first four wickets to fall, while Cummins was the most impressive of the West Indies bowlers with two for 37 while Gabriel took three for 79.
Williamson and Raval were progressing relatively effortlessly having put on 89 for the second wicket when Cummins fired in a short delivery which Williamson, on 43, edged down the leg side for Dowrich to take low down.
Raval reached 84 when he edged a good-length ball from Gabriel which was moving away from the left-hander.
It ended what had been a quality performance from Raval who faced 157 balls and hit 15 boundaries, but while it moved his average to 47.61 after 14 Test innings he remained in search of a maiden century.
Kumar Roach removed Taylor seven deliveries after tea while Nicholls had a life on 11 when he survived a runout chance, become Raymon Reifer's first Test wicket when he was trapped lbw for 13.
Reifer, the only change to the West Indies side, was called up for his debut Test to replace the suspended Jason Holder, while New Zealand also made one change with Tim Southee returning and Matt Henry dropping out.
The West Indies need to win the Test to square the two-match series after New Zealand won the first Test by an innings and 67 runs in Wellington.