Mounting attacking pressure from the outset, the Springboks were unrelenting, forcing errors throughout the 80-plus minutes of the contest in a performance that surpassed the record margin for South Africa over New Zealand of 17-0 in 1928.
Mistakes resulting from scoreboard pressure marred New Zealand's game. They rarely got the momentum that marked their earlier games, and too often, handling mistakes or miscommunication compounded the lost opportunities.
It seemed every time the All Blacks got the sniff of a chance, an error occurred. Their usual discipline evaporated. The errors were manifested in several ways. The worst was the second first-half yellow card for lock Scott Barrett, which became a red card – his second in Test rugby.
But there were many others. First five-eighths Richie Mo'unga hit the post with a kickable penalty goal, fullback Beauden Barrett's skewed kick off the second half restart, which allowed hooker Malcolm Marx to score, several lost lineout throws in the most concerning area of the loss, and an overload of handling mistakes. Replacement lock Tupou Vaa'i dropped a pass and then tried to play it; a penalty conceded allowed South Africa to mount a lineout drive. And it was replacement hooker Bongi Mbonambi who scored.
A midfield scrum penalty, a kick to the corner, and replacement No8 Kwagga Smith ran through to score.
New Zealand was in danger of going scoreless before a 70th-minute break by replacement halfback Cam Roigard, who stamped his hopes for the future with an outstanding run to score.
The game extended beyond two hours with stoppages for video consultations and injuries. But if it was an example of what teams can expect at the World Cup, then New Zealand has been put on notice.
Both sides had tries ruled out. Promising Bok centre Canan Moodie and All Blacks wing Will Jordan felt the effects of TMO scrutiny to deny them.
The All Blacks also lost prop Tyrel Lomax early with what appeared to be a badly cut knee.
While 0-14 down at the turn, New Zealand could be thankful they weren't further behind.
South Africa camped in the New Zealand 22 during the first quarter; the All Blacks conceded eight penalties and ended the first half with 11 penalties compared to five from South Africa. That resulted in the All Blacks defensive lineout work getting a thorough workout. They stood firm until referee Matthew Carley ran out of patience, resulting in Scott Barrett being sin-binned in the 13th minute after a team warning, only to be followed at yet another goal-line lineout by his captain flanker Sam Cane for side entry at a maul.
The Springboks launched another maul, but Mo'unga held up Marx. But from the dropout, South Africa's wave rolled in again, and captain and flanker Siya Kolisi scored under the bar.
Apart from the penalties, the All Blacks showed outstanding defensive presence to hold the Springboks out so often and to only be down by 14 points at the break. Yet, they had to make fewer tackles than the South Africans in the first half, 62-79; by the game's end, it was 94-132.
However, their lineout retention was challenged, with the Springboks taking five All Blacks throws.
When they got their hands on the ball, they never secured consistent field position, and they were forced to chance their hand when in their half. That resulted in South Africa's second try when wing Kurt-Lee Arendse picked off an intercept and ran 30 metres to score in the 33rd minute.
Two weeks out from their Cup opener against France, the All Blacks have been left with plenty to occupy their minds to recover their earlier momentum.
Scorers: New Zealand 7 (Cam Roigard try; Richie Mo'unga con) South Africa 35 (Siya Kolisi, Kurt-Lee Arendse, Malcolm Marx, Bongi Mbonambi, Kwagga Smith tries; Manie Libbok 5 con). HT: 0-14