The Australian Diamonds came back with a vengeance to beat the Silver Ferns 45-36 in game two of the Constellation Cup in Christchurch.
The Silver Ferns sorely missed their captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio, who was rested for the game as a result of a calf issue.
Cara Koenen started at goal shoot ahead of veteran Diamonds' shooter Caitlin Bassett and made a huge difference for the visitors.
The Diamonds fired out of the blocks, leading 8-1 early on and finished the first quarter with a 15-6 lead.
Meanwhile, Monica Falkner struggled in her first start at the international level and was replaced by Bailey Mes at goal attack after the first quarter.
Silver Ferns coach Dame Noeline Taurua made several changes as she looked for an answer but the visitors pushed out further, leading 30-16 at half-time.
Maddy Gordon made her Silver Ferns' debut when she came on for Sam Winders at wing defence.
The Silver Ferns came out strong after the main break, scoring the first six goals.
They upped their defensive pressure and Mes provided a calming influence in the Ferns' shooting end.
Sophie Garbin made her debut for Australia when she came on for Kiera Austin at goal attack.
The Ferns got to within nine but the Diamonds regained their composure, and headed into the final term 38-28 ahead.
The Silver Ferns won the final quarter by one goal as Jane Watson and Sulu Fitzpatrick made life difficult for the Australian shooters at times.
Maia Wilson had to take on the vast majority of the shooting for the Ferns, scoring 32 from 38.
Koenen finished with 29 from 34.
New Zealand will be crossing their fingers Ekenasio will be fit in time for Test 3 on Saturday.
If the series is tied 2-2, it will come down to who has the better goal difference.
Shooting Stats - Silver Ferns:
Maia Wilson 32/38 (84%)
Bailey Mes 3/5 (60%)
Monica Falkner 1/2 (50%)
Shooting Stats - Australian Diamonds:
Cara Koenen 29/34 (85%)
Kiera Austin 13/24 (54%)
Sophie Garbin 3/6 (50%)
MVP: Cara Koenen