New Zealand rode on an early goal from Cathryn Finlayson in the Group B match to secure their landmark triumph.
It was the first time the Black Sticks had taken even a point off Australia in the Games, having also lost by at least three goals in the past.
Finlayson scored from a corner in the third minute with a follow-up shot from eight yards after the initial drive by New Zealand captain Kayla Sharland had been saved.
New Zealand were the more cohesive team, but both sides created enough chances to have added to the score.
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