The Hurricanes went into the game favourites to beat the Highlanders Sunday afternoon in Wellington and three tries to one later got the victory they wanted 17-11 over the late-charging southern men.
Both teams came to the game with identical win-loss records, both having won only one game (against the Chiefs) from three. However, the Highlanders were a place and a point above the Canes on the table, at third.
The Hurricanes had hometown advantage and history on their side, having won 19 of their previous 33 encounters against the Highlanders' 14.
The last time the teams met the Highlanders took the honours, 28-31.
The game kicked off at 3.35pm, with the Hurricanes going into the break 12-0 ahead off the back of a bruising half.
The half saw a first up try to TJ Perenara for the Canes.
Followed by another Hurricanes touch down to Kobus van Wyk.
After the restart, the Canes pushed their lead out to 17-0 through a try to Devan Flanders before the Highlanders got one back on 60 minutes when Aaron Smith crossed the line to close the gap to 17-8.
The Highlanders added a penalty on 80 minutes to secure a bonus point but the Canes took the win 17-11 at the final whistle.
Hurricanes: 1. Ben May 2. Asafo Aumua 3. Tyrel Lomax 4. James Blackwell 5. Scott Scrafton 6. Devan Flanders 7. Du’Plessis Kirifi 8. Ardie Savea 9. TJ Perenara (c) 10. Fletcher Smith 11. Ben Lam 12. Ngani Laumape 13. Vince Aso 14. Kobus Van Wyk 15. Jordie Barrett
Reserves: 16. Ricky Riccitelli 17. Pouri Rakete-Stones 18. Alex Fidow 19. Vaea Fifita 20. Murphy Taramai 21. Jamie Booth 22. Billy Proctor 23. Wes Goosen
Highlanders: 1. Ayden Johnstone 2. Ash Dixon (cc) 3. Siate Tokolahi 4. Pari Pari Parkinson 5. Jack Whetton 6. Shannon Frizell 7. Dillon Hunt 8. Marino Mikaele-Tu’u 9. Aaron Smith (cc) 10. Mitch Hunt 11. Jona Nareki 12. Patelesio Tomkinson 13. Rob Thompson 14. Scott Gregory 15. Michael Collins
Reserves: 16. Liam Coltman 17. Daniel Lienert-Brown 18. Jeff Thwaites 19. Manaaki Selby-Rickit 20. Jesse Parete 21. Kayne Hammington 22. Bryn Gatland 23. Teariki Ben-Nicholas