The Silver Ferns overcame a five-goal deficit to beat Australia 53-52 in the first Test of netball's Constellation Cup in Christchurch.
A dominant third quarter today put the Diamonds ahead 44-39 but a series of errors quickly evaporated their advantage.
The match was the first between the teams since July's World Cup final in England where the Silver Ferns upset the Diamonds 52-51.
The final quarter steadily worsened for Australia, who also lost goal shooter Caitlin Bassett. She left the court in discomfort and was replaced by Caitlin Thwaites.
Bassett was one of Australia's best, shooting 26/30 before leaving the game.
The Diamonds found themselves down 26-25 at halftime after a poor opening half in which they were unable to capitalise on turnover ball.
Australia were particularly wasteful in the attacking third as their connections from the mid-court to the shooting circle were rusty.
Coach Lisa Alexander brought Laura Scherian on for her Test debut late in the second quarter and she was more efficient when feeding the shooting circle.
But that fluidity went out of the Diamonds' attack in the final quarter and the Silver Ferns regained the lead with seven minutes to go and never gave it back.
The four-match series moves to Auckland for game two on Tuesday night before heading to Australia for Tests in Sydney and Perth.