The Scottish Premiership's top scorer found a way through early on in the first ever meeting between the two sides, making the most of his chance to impress manager Michael O'Neill on a night of experimentation in Belfast.
Ireland bossed large parts of the game and should have won by a bigger margin, yet the best chance of the lot fell New Zealand's way in the final 20 minutes and they will perhaps feel aggrieved not to have claimed a draw on their travels.
The home side edged a fairly flat first half, finding what proved to be the winner early on through Boyce and creating a few more chances that they were unable to make the most of.
Boyce did well when the opening fell his way six minutes in, cutting inside and firing past Stefan Marinovic from inside the area to get off the mark.
Marinovic was being kept busy in the opening stages, denying Josh Magennis from a couple of corners as the Green and White Army went in search of a second goal.
They may not have been at full strength, with debutant Tom Flanagan among those being given a run in the side, but it was proving to be an easy evening for the hosts as the first half wore on.
A cross from the right was met with his head, though he was under pressure and failed to get the desired contact on the ball.
It failed to get much better for the All Whites, while Ireland's best opening for a second fell Magennis's way right on the brink of half time, only for the Charlton Athletic man to blast at Marinovic from a tight angle.
Ireland made a few changes at the break, bringing on Kyle Lafferty for the remaining 45 minutes and he nearly added a killer second moments after being introduced.
Magennis's cross from the right needed helping home, but his first-time shot had too much on it and ended wide of the target.
Prior to Barbarouses's glorious chance Magennis nodded over from a Shane Ferguson cross, but in the end neither team could add to the scoring.
Northern Ireland now head to Turkey for a short break before their trip to Baku to face Azerbaijan in a crucial qualifier, while the All Whites have one more friendly to come ahead of the 2017 Confederations Cup later this month.