Skipper Brendon McCullum says the Black Caps are hurting after another huge Test cricket defeat to South Africa, but asked for perspective in assessing their 2-0 series whitewash.
Resuming at 157-4 on the fourth morning in Port Elizabeth, New Zealand were bowled out for 211 to go down by an innings and 193 runs.
They lost the first Test in Cape Town by an innings and 27 runs.
The South African pace attack was again in devastating form, as the last five wickets fell for eight runs after the Proteas took the new ball.
Three of those went to Dale Steyn, who finished with match figures of 8-65.
The victory was the Proteas' largest against New Zealand, eclipsing the innings and 180-run margin in Wellington in 1953.
"Obviously it's incredibly disappointing and it hurts a lot to suffer a 2-0 loss in the fashion that we have," McCullum said.
"But I think acknowledgment of the difference in class between the two teams is important for perspective as well."
He said the Black Caps didn't play as well as they could have, but a lot of that was because they weren't allowed to.
"We didn't front up when we needed to," he said.
"But we were also placed under tremendous pressure right throughout by a team that's at the very, very top of their game."
McCullum, who scored of 13 and 11 at St George's Park to end his first series as captain with an average of 20.5, said he had never faced as consistent a challenge from a group of bowlers before.
Given that his job as an opener was to take the sting out of the attack, he was frustrated that he survived through the tough periods three times only to fall to spinner Robin Peterson.
While he and other players would rue missed opportunities, McCullum did single out two team-mates for praise - Dean Brownlie and BJ Watling.
Brownlie managed New Zealand's only century in their four innings with 109 in Cape Town, while Watling had two half-centuries (both 63) in Port Elizabeth, as well as a 42 in the first Test.
New Zealand were always facing a daunting assignment going in against the world's top-ranked Test nation.
Their prospects weren't helped by being without four frontline players, with former skipper Ross Taylor and fellow top-order batsman Jesse Ryder making themselves unavailable, and seamer Tim Southee and experienced spinner Daniel Vettori out injured.
New Zealand and South Africa now face each other in three one-day internationals, the first in Paarl on Saturday.