The men's Black Sticks have missed out on qualifying for next year's Rio Olympic Games.
The world No 7 team needed to beat top-ranked Australia in the Oceania Cup final in Stratford today, but were beaten 3-2.
Australia had New Zealand reeling with goals to Glenn Turner and Jamie Dwyer inside the first six minutes.
They were faster on the ball, and slicker with their inter-passing, in that first quarter.
James Coughlan got one goal back for New Zealand after 20 minutes as the game became more evenly contested.
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In the third quarter, as New Zealand were robbed by a poor umpiring decision as they sought a penalty corner, Australia raced away and Trent Mitton's goal appeared to have shut the door on New Zealand.
However the Black Sticks pressed hard in the final quarter, won a series of penalty corners, and from one of them Kane Russell drove a shot low into the Australian goal.
But the Australian defence held firm and it was the end for the Black Sticks.
''Australia cane out really well and put us under pressure early on," New Zealand captain Simon Child said. ''I know the guys gave it everything and we played some of our best hockey today."