The Black Caps still took the three-match series 2-1 after defeating England by five wickets and 86 runs at Lord's and Southampton respectively last week as the hosts suffered their first home ODI series loss in four years,
For England, victory stopped the rot ahead of their Champions Trophy opener against arch-rivals Australia at Edgbaston on Saturday.
New Zealand, chasing 288 for victory in this day/night fixture, finished on 253 all out.
England finally saw the back of man-of-the-series Martin Guptill at Trent Bridge.
The Kiwi opener had twice made them pay for dropping him on 13 in succesive matches with 103 not out at Lord's and a New Zealand record 189 not out at Southampton.
But on Wednesday he made just 38 before he was bowled by an off-break from James Tredwell, in for fellow spinner Graeme Swann in one of four changes to the England team.
That still left Guptill with a series average of 330.
Encouragingly for England, pacemen Stuart Broad (knee) and Steven Finn (shin) returned after missing the first two matches of this series through injury.
And when Broad, on his Nottinghamshire home ground, had James Franklin caught in the gully by England captain Alastair Cook, New Zealand were 122 for six.
Ross Taylor kept New Zealand in the hunt with 71 off 84 balls including three sixes and two fours -- his third fifty of the series.
His last two sixes came off successive Tredwell deliveries, Finn failing to palm back the first before the next ball soared high over his head at deep mid-wicket.
But going for three in a row, Taylor was out when Finn threw the ball to Tim Bresnan who completed the catch.
That left the tourists needing 53 from their last-wicket pair of Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan to complete an improbable victory.
But when McClenaghan holed out, England had won with 21 balls to spare.
Earlier, England saw Ian Bell top score with 82 but, at 210 for five in the 46th over, it seemed they'd fall short of a competitive score.
However, a stand of 62 between Eoin Morgan (49) and Buttler boosted the total to 287 for six.
Buttler needed a six off the last ball of the innings to surpass Sri Lanka great Sanath Jayasuriya's 17-ball record for the fastest ODI fifty, set against Pakistan in Singapore in 1996.
But instead he could only manage two off Tim Southee.
Nevertheless the 22-year-old wicket-keeper's innings featured six fours and three sixes.
After losing the toss, England soon saw Cook lbw for nought to left-arm seamer McClenaghan.
Fellow opener Bell was in command when he mistimed a drive off McClenaghan low to mid-off as a 96-ball innings featuring a six and six fours finished tamely.
Buttler, off only his third ball, struck seamer Mills over long-on for six.
Next ball Buttler produced a trademark scoop shot for four over short fine leg and the ball after that deposited Mills between mid-wicket and square leg.
There was more to come, with the fourth ball of the over reverse-scooped over short third man by Buttler for yet another boundary.
Buttler missed the fifth ball but the sixth was smashed back over Mills's head for four more as 22 runs came off the 48th over, the most expensive of the innings.
New Zealand begin their Champions Trophy campaign against Sri Lanka in Cardiff on Sunday.