New Zealand women's hockey fans have been rewarded with a pioneering moment on the Gold Coast.

The Black Sticks created history by securing a 4-1 defeat of Australia to win gold for the first time in six Commonwealth Games attempts.

Euphoria flooded out of the dug-out as the final hooter brought a moment of unshackled triumph.

Years of "almosts" and "so closes" were transplanted by a confidence which stunned their opponents into submission in front of a roaring bipartisan crowd that included Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


Late in the third quarter, Split Enz' History Never Repeats boomed over the public address system as New Zealand went 3-0 up. That proved a prophetic anthem. Australia, a team which had won the title on four of the five previous occasions, were bound for defeat.

"Ki-Wi, Ki-Wi," reverberated around the stadium as the clocked ticked.

There was an outpouring of joy atop the dais as the team belted out "God of Nations" for the first time in such circumstances.

"I said to the girls, this is the most excited I've been for a game of hockey," captain Stacey Michelsen beamed post-match.

"We came out with a huge amount of energy and continued that through the game.

"To score early through Shiloh [Gloyn] was amazing, but to continue that flow was something we don't do often. It was pleasing to keep that roll on."

The goal-scorers seized their moment on the big stage.

After a scoreless first quarter, Gloyn smashed a field goal from out in front three minutes before halftime. Australian goal keeper Rachael Lynch had no answer as the ball cannoned into the right of the net.


The Black Sticks followed up with penalty corners in the 34th, 42nd and 56th minutes to Rose Keddell, Olivia Merry and Anita McLaren as they put the match result in a vice.

However, the work of goalkeeper Sally Rutherford and her defence force, conceding two goals across the tournament, deserved just as much glory.

"We've got quite a good senior group around the back," Michelsen said.

"I think it's so pleasing to have them set us up with good positions, going forward on the ball.

"And with Sally Rutherford and Grace O'Hanlon in goal, we were solid."

"They [Rutherford and O'Hanlon] were fantastic the whole series," added coach Mark Hager.

"Again today, Sally had some early shots and made good saves. Grace did well in the shoot-out to get us here."

Momentum carried over from the semi-final duel against England.

The penalty-takers Michelsen and Samantha Harrison, and the force field of O'Hanlon must also be lauded for dragging them through.

Breaking a jinx of eight failed shoot-outs saw them vault into a new age of self-assurance.
What this means for the resurgence of hockey in New Zealand over the coming years is anybody's guess.

The sport debuted at Kuala Lumpur in 1998, and New Zealand have endured some devastating moments. The 4-2 penalty strokes loss in Delhi after a 2-2 draw to Australia in the final was probably the worst, something current team members Michelsen, McLaren, Ella Gunson and Harrison will no doubt remember.

"[Anita and I] started playing together in 2009," Michelsen said.

"We joke about being 'old gals' now, but it's been amazing to have her alongside me when we had the disappointment of Delhi and Glasgow.

"That's one of the things I came back for - unfinished business," McLaren added, after taking time out post-Rio.

"I haven't been on top of the podium, there's always a lot of fear behind [getting] fourth for me. This is amazing."

Entering the tournament, the women had a record which included silver at Delhi in 2010 and bronze at Kuala Lumpur in 1998 and Glasgow in 2014.

Coach Mark Hager sought a complete set of gold, silver and bronze medals since his tenure began in January 2009.

"I'm pretty sure we'll go okay if we get our defence right," he said at the pre-tournament media conference.

Those words echoed in the final.

"The last few tournaments we've leaked a few too many goals and haven't put on enough scoreboard pressure. We also want to improve our penalty corner and goal scoring conversion rates."

The team were as good as his words.