Vettori, who hasn't played for New Zealand since the Twenty20 World Cup in September last year due to injury, took 1-67 from 10 overs and scored only five runs with the bat as ND slumped to a 106-run loss.
It was hoped that Vettori would be fit for New Zealand to meet England in their ongoing tour to these shores, but now the return leg in the Northern Hemisphere in May and June seems more realistic.
Vettori's sole wicket today was that of James Franklin, who top-scored for the home side with 114 from 103 balls, as Wellington made an imposing 280-7 from their 50 overs.
That total proved too much for ND who barely fired a shot as they were bowled out for 174 as veteran paceman Mark Gillespie nabbed career-best figures of 6-38 for Wellington, while wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi pouched three catches.
The victory for Wellington put them in to third place on the ladder and they will host ND in one of the Ford Trophy's minor preliminary finals on Sunday.
At the University Oval in Dunedin, top qualifiers Auckland were given a staunch reminder of how tough the competition can be when they were beaten by the fifth-placed Otago by six wickets.
Auckland won the toss and batted first in Dunedin, but never established a major partnership as they regularly lost wickets during their innings.
Craig Cachopa top-scored with 51 for the visitors, while Anaru Kitchen and Donovan Grobbelaar each made 38 as they were eventually bowled out for 221.
Otago made light work of the chase as they breezed home in the 46th over with six wickets in hand on the back of an unbeaten 66 from Nathan McCullum and strong support from Michael Bracewell who made 63.
Auckland skipper Gareth Hopkins used eight bowlers to try to find a way through Otago's batting line-up but they failed to fire; Bhupinder Singh was the best of them with 2-49 from 10 overs.
Auckland will give up home advantage for their minor preliminary final on Sunday due to a venue clash with the Black Caps test against England at Eden Park during the weekend, and will play against Canterbury in Hamilton.
Canterbury beat Central Districts by 156 runs at Hagley Park in Christchurch today, which saw them qualify for the finals in second spot.
The Cantabrians made light work of a disappointing CD side, who finished the competition with the wooden spoon, despite having won the Plunket Shield this summer.
Canterbury lost the toss and were put in to bat. That mattered little as they posted a highly-competitive 291-5, with Tom Latham top-scoring with 77 and Henry Nicholls making his third half century of the competition as he added 54.
In reply, only skipper Jamie How mounted any true resistance for CD as he stroked 83. Kruger van Wyk (11) was the only other Stag to make double figures as Alan Hunt's men were rolled for 135.