A Ivan Vicelich goal gave the All Whites a slender one-nil lead at the interval, while Shane Smeltz strike in the 86th minute helped to settle any lingering nerves Ricki Herbert's side may have had.
In the 32nd minute, Vicelich latched on to a Jeremy Christie ball played over an advancing Fijian defence, and took advantage of some confusion, and claims of offside, caused by a retreating Chris Killen before lobbing the ball over Simone Tamanisau.
New Zealand keeper Mark Paston was not tested during the first half, although Fiji did cause some trouble for the All Whites back four either side of the half-hour mark through Roy Krishna, but the young striker saw both of his efforts blocked by New Zealand defenders.
Fiji started much brighter than New Zealand after the break and could have equalised in the 52nd minute through Osea Vakatalesau, but he saw his looping close range rebound off the crossbar. The loose ball fell dangerously into the six yard box, but Paston reacted quickly to claw it away from the feet of two Fijian players.
The All Whites quickly got back into their stride and once again threatened the New Zealand goal. Indeed, they saw two headers from Smeltz find the back of net, only for the assistant's flag to rule both out for offside.
However, with four minutes remaining, Smeltz had reason to celebrate. As Fiji were pressing for an equaliser, the Wellington Phoenix striker found space on the left before cutting inside and firing the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net.
After the game, New Zealand coach Herbert was satisfied with his side's display. "The pleasing thing for me was that showed some real character," he said. "I'm happy with how we ground it out. We talked extensively at the hotel beforehand about how it didn't matter what the performance looked like, we just wanted to get a result.
"We stuttered along at times and probably didn't get players forward like we wanted to but at the end of the day I'm delighted for the players because it's three points. That'll give everybody a bit of confidence and it's given us some momentum going into next month's home and away fixtures against Vanuatu."
On 17 November Herbert's squad travel to Port Vila for their second successive away fixture, before entertaining the same opposition four days later in Wellington.
Fiji will be looking to bounce back from the loss against New Zealand and gain revenge for their defeat in the final of the South Pacific Games when they face New Caledonia home and away on the same dates.
Meanwhile, the Bureau of the Organising Committee for the FIFA World Cup are meeting before the end of this month to decide when and where last Saturday's cancelled fixture between New Zealand and Fiji will take place.