The New Zealand team has been dubbed a "goat" but in an endearing way as the country celebrated their appearance in the World Cup final rather than mourned the loss on Monday.
"This New Zealand cricket team is our GOAT, the Greatest Of All Time," wrote the Herald on Sunday`s Andrew Alderson.
"One hell of a ride," added The Press on the front page of its souvenir edition, while the New Zealand Herald admitted: "We were done by a better team."
New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum`s World Cup philosophy of "no regrets" struck a chord with an enthralled public.
Former Black Caps fast bowler Jonathan Millmow said seven weeks "of rollicking entertainment" had been replaced by a below par effort on the day when it counted most.
"There will be post mortems, but they should be short and respectful of a side and a campaign that has been pretty much inch perfect until the entire cricket world`s eyes set upon them," he wrote in The Dominion-Post.
Despair at the ease with which Australia wrapped up the final by seven wickets was quickly replaced on Radio New Zealand with talk of how the New Zealand team exceeded expectations and could only get better.
"Under McCullum and (coach Mike) Hesson, halcyon days lie ahead," said the national broadcaster.
Bars and restaurants had put on extra staff with many released early as crowds dwindled once it became evident the result would not go New Zealand`s way.
Even ardent fans who had crossed the Tasman Sea to watch the final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground found it hard to sit through New Zealand in their death throes.Regan Tait told Radio New Zealand he left the MCG early when the game became difficult to watch.
"I`m not happy. But very proud to be a Kiwi and the whole campaign has been amazing," he said. "They performed a little bit under par, but they should still hold their heads really high."
Fan Andy Bryant said his thoughts were mostly with the players.
"They`ve done so well over the last four to five weeks. Proud of them, but gutted for them. They proudly deserved a better showing than what they had."
In two years, New Zealand have risen from rock bottom to being a whisker away from the top of the cricket world.
On January 2, 2013 in the first innings of the first Test against South Africa, they were rolled for a disastrous 45 in Cape Town and from that humiliation came urgently needed change.
"Not just from an internal point of view but also externally how we are viewed by the public," captain McCullum said.
"It was essential to all of us that we wanted the public support and the best way to go about that is to make sure you`re out there and trying to represent New Zealand with everything you`ve got."
A winning culture, including 14 of their past 21 ODIs, and a humble attitude has won them the public support they craved.
"Well done Black Caps. I don`t usually watch cricket but I watched your stunning performances. Hold your heads high and be proud," one reader said on the Fairfax Media website.
There was also room for a gentle dig at the Australians who serve as New Zealand`s closest allies in nearly all facets of life except sport where they are bitter rivals.
"Did you see the bit where McCullum went over to Michael Clarke and shook his hand as he was leaving the field for his final ODI? As opposed to the bit when the Aussies mocked Grant Elliot after his dismissal? Baz and this team have significantly more class," wrote another reader.