"People like Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich, they've faced adversity and what we saw, to come back in form the way they did", Maguire said.
"I hate losing to be honest with you, I think we all do", Meninga said.
It was the first time in six years that New Zealand have beaten their nearest neighbours and reigning World champions.
Despite the visitors scoring with minutes to go in the match, it wasn't enough, the Kiwis winning overall by two points, much to the joy of newly appointed captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak who received a haka tautoko from his family in the crowd.
"We came into camp to build foundations not only for us going forward but the Kiwis coming through and the kids after that", Watene-Zelezniak.
Down at halftime, the Kiwis rallied to secure a famous win over their trans-Tasman foes, ending the Kangaroos' 13-Test winning streak in the process - their first success over Australia since 2015.
In addition, new skipper Greg Inglis was absent through suspension, a host of other big names were absent and Luke Keary - one of four debutants - was forced off early on after suffering a blow to the head.
But the Kiwis fielded a strong side, including several players who featured in the Sydney Roosters win over Melbourne in last month's National Rugby League grand final.
Kiwis centre Joseph Manu scored his first Test try in the 35th minute after forcing his way through the defence of Mitchell and Holmes but halfback Johnson again missed the conversion.
The Kangaroos produced something out of nothing when Daly Cherry-Evans, Tom Trbojevic and Dane Gagai combined on the stroke of halftime to make it 10-8, however the Kiwis powered home in the second half.
It was a remarkable effort for the Kangaroos to lead 12-8 at half-time given New Zealand had 69% of possession but the Kiwis dominated the second half.
The 26-24 scoreline flattered the Australians after they ran in two late tries - scores that could not counter a glut of rudimentary errors.
The star halfback then repeated the effort to set up a try for Rapana after Manu managed an offload the ball despite the attention of Mitchell and Holmes.
Some streets around Mt Smart Stadium are lined with Tongan flags and houses decked out in red and white.