The Silver Ferns have halted Australia’s recent trans-Tasman netball dominance with a clear-cut 38-31 win in the second test in Auckland.
The match at Vector Arena was a hard-fought and at-times scrappy affair, which New Zealand led virtually from start to finish.
It was the lowest score by the winning side in a transtasman contest since New Zealand won 33-29 at the 1989 World Games in what was then West Germany, although that was over 40 rather than 60 minutes.
But it was a welcome result for the Silver Ferns, who had lost six of the previous seven clashes with Australia going back almost two years, including the first test in Christchurch on Wednesday.
It was also their first success over their fiercest rivals since their victory in Melbourne in July of last year.
Both teams made changes to their starting seven from Australia’s 53-51 win three days ago.
The newly-named Diamonds gave a first cap to Rebecca Bulley, who came in at wing defence for Julie Prendergast.
Coach Norma Plummer also recalled experienced goal shoot Catherine Cox, who was a late injury withdrawal in Christchurch and was replaced that night by new cap Kate Beveridge.
Cox had a great duel with New Zealand goal keep Casey Williams, who was again sterling in her duties.
By midway through the second quarter, Plummer decided a change was needed, swapping Cox and goal attack Susan Pratley around.
Rival coach Ruth Aitken made one switch to her starting line-up, bringing in test debutante Katrina Grant at goal defence for Sheryl Scanlan.
She continued with the experiment of using Laura Langman and Irene van Dyk in their new positions of wing attack and goal attack respectively.
The Silver Ferns, with goal shoot Maria Tutaia in accurate early form, got off to a flying start, up 6-1 early on as the Australian struggled with their service into their shooting circle.
The Australians made a comeback as Jamaican umpire Chris Campbell repeatedly penalised the Silver Ferns for use of their hips on defence.
But the home side pulled away again to lead 12-9 at the first break.
They continued their momentum early in the second half to go further ahead and by halftime the margin was 23-15.
Both sides adjusted their line-ups, with both new caps going off.
The Silver Ferns also swapped van Dyk and Tutaia back to their more customary positions.