The All Blacks Sevens have finished fourth at their home Hamilton Sevens event with a tough 8-7 loss to Australia.
Kurt Baker of New Zealand is tackled by Lachlan Anderson of Australia in the quarter final match during day three of the HSBC Sydney Sevens at Allianz Stadium.
Knocked out at the semi-final stage via a 14-12 loss to Fiji, the Kiwis again struggled to get their game going and rarely threatened in attack.
However their defence came to the rescue time and again, making key interventions until a late penalty gave Aussie captain James Stannard the chance to kick home.
He duly slotted the penalty goal after the buzzer to secure bronze.
Earlier, the two sides had scored a try apiece, with Kiwi captain Scott Curry's opener matched by Joe Porch's five-pointer after the break.
So ruthless for much of this weekend's play in the Waikato, the Kiwis ultimately found their skills wanting on the big stage on Sunday afternoon.
That was no more the case than in their semi-final against Fiji, in which they contrived to drop key passes and lack composure.
The Fijians, meanwhile, managed to make hay by dominating the breakdown and forcing turnovers, eventually eking out a result.
Their superior goal-kicking was the sole difference on the scoreboard, with each side managing two tries - the Kiwis through Sam Dickson and Vilimoni Koroi.
The All Blacks Sevens had previously wiped the floor with France, Scotland and Argentina in pool play, before a 19-12 quarter-final win over England.