Chanderpaul’s 122 not out, overtaking Sachin Tendulkar’s record and putting him sixth on the all-time scorers’ list, left the tourists at 367 all out before New Zealand finished day two of the third Test on 156 for 3.
Ross Taylor, seeking his third century in as many Tests, was on 56 and Brendon McCullum was on 11 after New Zealand lost openers Hamish Rutherford and Peter Fulton cheaply.
Taylor stood in a 95-run partnership with Kane Williamson (58), the second victim for Sunil Narine who was called into the side after Shane Shillingford’s ban for an illegal action.
The many variations in the twin spin assault of Narine and Veerasammy Permaul caused multiple problems for the New Zealand batsmen, who struggled to read the turning ball.
But the real honours for the West Indies lay with Chanderpaul, who came to the rescue and rewrote the record books into the bargain when the tourists were in trouble at 86-5 on the first day.
His 200-run partnership with Denesh Ramdin (107) and late cameo stands with Permaul (20) and Tino Best (25) gave the West Indies a respectable total to defend.
When Chanderpaul reached his 29th Test hundred by smacking Tim Southee past gully to the boundary, he immediately went down on his knees to kiss the pitch.
It was a gesture to celebrate the hundred as well as the achievement of batting his team out of trouble as West Indies, 1-0 down in the series, fight to win the third and final Test.
Chanderpaul’s 122 not out lifted him to 11,199 runs from his 153 Tests, overtaking Allan Border (11,174) as the sixth most prolific run-scoring Test batsmen, and 754 behind fifth-placed Brian Lara.
His 17th unbeaten century also put the 39-year-old one ahead of recently retired Indian great Tendulkar as the batsman holding the most unbeaten Test hundreds.
New Zealand made an uncertain start to their response with openers Fulton and Rutherford struggling to find runs and both removed by snappy catches by Darren Sammy.
The West Indies captain, celebrating his 30th birthday, just snuck his fingers under the ball at ground level to have Rutherford caught and bowled for 10.
The introduction of spin saw Fulton out for 11 when he flicked the third delivery from Narine down the leg side where Sammy grasped a sharp, reflex catch.
But while the spinners kept Williamson and Taylor guessing, and beat the bat several times, the partnership survived 34 overs before Narine trapped Williamson lbw.
McCullum appeared mesmerised by Narine at first and could not get bat to ball with the first two deliveries he faced before he belted two boundaries to try to put the spinners off-line.
For the West Indies, Narine has two for 43 off 22 overs.
Southee produced the best bowling figures for New Zealand in the West Indies innings taking four for 79 while Corey Anderson took three for 47.
New Zealand won the second Test by an innings and 73 runs, snapping a year-long win drought, while the first Test of the series was drawn.