A Joey Manu-inspired New Zealand brought Australia crashing back to earth as the Kangaroos' new era began with a 26-24 upset loss.
The Kangaroos had their 13-game winning streak broken on Saturday at Mt Smart Stadium and tasted their first rugby league Test loss under coach Mal Meninga.
After the retirement of a golden generation of players including Johnathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater and Cameron Smith, the Aussies have shown they are beatable.
Manu upstaged his Sydney Roosters teammate, superstar Latrell Mitchell, scoring one try and setting up another in a rampaging performance, while Shaun Johnson was named man of the match.
Meninga said he would resist the temptation to ring in changes, saying their 11 errors and completion rate cost them and there wasn't much wrong with the side.
"I love the attitude; I loved the way they kept hanging in; I loved the way we nearly won the footy game," Meninga said.
"They did everything right tonight except execute well.
"That's a footy thing. That's not a between-the-ears thing - that's a not a physical thing."
Importantly for the Kiwis, new coach Michael Maguire gave their fans something to cheer about after a disastrous World Cup, an exodus of players to Tonga and the Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor illicit substance incident.
"That's a really strong win for the boys for where we are at the moment," Maguire said.
"It's great that the boys got the win for the people, for everyone right around New Zealand, to turn the tide.
"The boys have spoken about what sort of team they want to be so the fans do come on the ride with us."
The Australians scored two late tries through Felise Kaufusi and James Tedesco for a tense final two minutes however the scoreline belied the Kiwis' dominance.
After the Kangaroos took a 12-8 lead into halftime, the home side hit the front when hooker Brandon Smith burrowed over in the 54th minute.
And when a light-stepping Johnson created an overlap, Esan Marsters put the Kiwis up 20-12.
Johnson again was allowed to run across field, with Manu popping a magical offload in traffic to send Jordan Rapana over to give his side what proved a winning lead at 26-12.
Earlier, five-eighth Luke Keary's Test debut was short-lived after he was taken off with a head knock in the 17th minute and did not return.
The Kiwis were twice denied by the video referees in the first half - with skipper Dallin Watene-Zelezniak controversially turned down after Manu was ruled to have knocked on after a spectacular pick-up and chip.
Manu proved his superstar qualities when he produced a powerful fend to run over Mitchell and give the Kiwis an 8-6 lead in the 35th minute.
The Kangaroos produced something out of nothing when Daly Cherry-Evans, Tom Trbojevic and Dane Gagai combined on the stroke of halftime to make it 10-8, however the Kiwis powered home for their first win over Australia since the 2015 Anzac Test.