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He was pinned by Canada's Marc Deschenes early in the gold medal bout to lose by Ippon.
Moira De Villiers claimed bronze in the women's -78kg after defeating Ayuk Otay Arrey Sophina of Cameroon by Ippon with 28 seconds left.
It's her second medal after winning silver in Glasgow eight years ago.
She defeated fellow Kiwi Hayley Mackey in the quarter-finals, one of her students at the Premiere Equipe Judo Club she runs with husband Jason Koster in Christchurch.
The bronze bout was a close thing but de Villiers kept her calm and got the win just at the end.
"Super special. It wasn't what I wanted but I'm still glad I was able to represent New Zealand and get us another medal," she told Sky Sport.
"I just knew she would gas after a minute I just had to keep going and be a little bit of a dogfight. I'm ruthless on the ground so I knew I was going to get it."
Gisborne's Sydnee Andrews also claimed bronze with the 19-year-old promising gold in four years' time after defeating Sarah Hawkes of Northern Ireland in their women's +78kg bronze bout.