The Kiwis went into the contest holding a 23-year unbeaten record at Eden Park and although Warren Gatland's side tested them on Saturday, they succumbed to their hosts' attacking prowess during the second half.
The first points of the three-Test series came from the boot of New Zealand's Beauden Barrett, who converted a simple penalty after an infringement by Tadhg Furlong, and it soon got worse for the Lions as the home side began to control the contest.
There was a suggestion that New Zealand could run away with the match but there was respite for the Lions as Owen Farrell got his team on the board with a penalty, although that was quickly cancelled out by Barrett.
Given the pattern of the game, the Lions would have taken a 10-point deficit at the break but with four minutes remaining, they touched down for one of the greatest tries in the team's history.
It all started with Liam Williams, who deceived two New Zealand players after starting from his own 22 before support came from both Elliot Daly and Jonathan Davies, and after they remained composed so close to the line, the chance was given to Sean O'Brien to lunge over.
Farrell failed with the conversion but when the two teams came back out for the restart, it left the Lions with the momentum and they put New Zealand onto the back foot during the early stages of the second half.
However, they were unable to at least shorten the deficit and after the Kiwis had gradually started to regain control, they broke from a scrum before Rieko Ioane ended a flowing move with a try in the corner.
With 18 minutes left, Barrett sent the ball through the posts to extend New Zealand's advantage to 15 points, and it was effectively game over when Ioane went over for a second try seven minutes later.
The Lions ended on a positive note as Rhys Webb touched down with the last action of an enthralling showdown.