Shaun Kenny-Dowall came to New Zealand's rescue with a late try as the 2008 world champions scraped past Four Nations outsiders Samoa 14-12.
The Samoans fell just short against England last weekend and they showed that was no one-off with another strong showing in Whangarei.
Tautau Moga's interception try gave Samoa an early lead and the Pacific Islanders went into half-time 8-6 to the good after Daniel Vidot cancelled out Kieran Foran's converted effort.
Joey Leilua swatted Kenny-Dowall aside to touch down and stretch Samoa's advantage just after the break but the New Zealand winger had the last word.
Jason Nightingale's try set up a grandstand finish and Kenny-Dowall went over five minutes from time to deny Samoa a famous victory.