Fritz Schmid's tenure in charge of the All Whites has begun with a low-key 1-0 loss to Canada in Spain on Sunday morning (NZ time).
The match was played in gusty conditions in front of empty grandstands at Pinatar Arena, with both coaches agreeing to keep the gates closed in their first internationals in charge.
New Zealand, who were missing ten first-choice players, had three excellent goal-scoring opportunities in the first half which they did not covert and the Canadians made them pay early in the second half.
In the 54th minute, experienced forward Tosaint Ricketts gathered the ball in the box and fired it past Max Crocombe in goal in what proved to be the defining moment of the match. The 30-year-old from Toronto FC scored his 16th goal in his 58th international for Canada.
Four players made their debut in the match for New Zealand, with Crocombe and Adam Mitchell included in the starting side, while Andre de Jong and Sarpreet Singh released off the bench in the second half.
Experienced defender Michael Boxall was given the captain's armband for the first time in the absence of Winston Reid and Chris Wood.
Midfielder Ryan Thomas was not available for selection because of a hamstring injury.