McCullum was on 281, his highest test score and the second highest by a New Zealander, at the close of play after having shared a world record stand for the sixth wicket with wicketkeeper BJ Watling who was dismissed for 124 in the third over after tea.
Debutant Jimmy Neesham was on 67 at the close of play with the hosts on 571 for six, a lead of 325 runs and seemingly in a position where they cannot lose the match and series with a day's play remaining.
New Zealand had won the first test at Eden Park by 40 runs and India had needed to win the game to level the two-match series.
"It has been a great day," an exhausted McCullum told Radio Sport. "Today I thought BJ and myself were able to put ourselves in a really strong position.
"The way Neesh came in and we created that partnership we are really pleased with where we are and we have to make some decisions overnight."
Image: New Zealand’s Brendon McCullum ducks a bouncer against India on the fourth day of the second cricket test at Basin Reserve in Wellington, New Zealand, Monday, Feb. 17, 2014