Wales coach Ioan Cunningham was proud of his side's effort, especially in the forwards, but missed opportunities denied them tries that could have made the game closer.
"But with the Black Ferns being so lethal, you turn the ball over, [and] they run it from 60, and you have gone from being five metres out from their try line to under the sticks.
"We knew from watching them that they had a great offload game. They keep the ball alive.
"They were smart in their approach. Early on they went through us. The picked with their forwards early which narrowed our defence, and then kicked smartly behind us. The momentum built, and they got a few tries in."
Wales looked to use their set piece as a weapon to gain penalties and territory without winning effect.
However, the Welsh players benefited from the experience.
"Firstly, to see the intensity they play at, the ambition they have. It gives us belief that we can go after sides like this, especially up front if we stick to our structures and show that belief. We can create opportunities against these teams."
Captain Siwan Lillicrap said while the set piece was dominant, Wales hadn't capitalised on opportunities and didn't front up physically.
"Credit to the Black Ferns, they put everything at us.
"They scored a couple of quick tries in the first half and again in the second half. That isn't the way we wanted to start.
"They pounced on our mistakes. They have deadly wingers that can create stuff from nothing. They have deadly players all around the park with great attacking ability.
"It's a huge honour to play New Zealand. The Black Ferns are a credit to women's rugby, and I wish them all the best for the tournament."