New Zealand secured a place in November's intercontinental World Cup play-offs thanks to Tommy Smith's winner against New Caledonia four minutes into injury time.
Christopher Killen headed in a Leo Bertos free-kick to put New Zealand, who were remarkably the only unbeaten nation at the 2010 World Cup finals, in front after only ten minutes in Dunedin but Cesar Lolohea levelled shortly after the interval. Lolohea superbly brought down a pass from Bertrand Kai and volleyed home.
With New Zealand's last group game coming against Soloman Islands, whom they beat 6-1 in the reverse fixture in September, New Caledonia knew they must win this game to stand a realistic chance of making it through to the play-offs.
But it was the home side who pushed for the winner and eventually they ensured the final stage of Oceania qualifying would not go down to the final day as Ipswich Town defender Smith popped up with a close-range header to secure a 2-1 win.
New Zealand will now play the fourth placed team from the CONCACAF region for a place in the World Cup finals, which will not be known until October.