The Hurricanes ended a three match losing streak against the Highlanders when they scored a late try to win 20-26 in Dunedin.
Julian Savea scored a try six minutes from time to hand the victory to the Hurricanes after they had been trailing 20-19.
Savea showed his extraordinary pace and power as he took an infield pass from scrumhalf T.J. Perenara, sidestepping and driving through the tackles of Chris King and Mike Delany on a 30-metre dash to the line.
The revenge victory for the Hurricanes, who lost 17-19 to the Highlanders in the third round, lifted them to one point behind the third-placed Highlanders side in the New Zealand conference led by the Chiefs and Crusaders.
The Highlanders enjoyed most of the possession but after a faulty first 20 minutes the Hurricanes tightened their defence while the Highlanders attack lacked direction.
Both sides scored two tries, with the difference being the accurate boot of Hurricanes fly-half Beauden Barrett who punished the Highlanders' high error rate by landing four penalties.
The lead changed five times in the match with Savea's winning try coming six minutes from fulltime when the Hurricanes counter-attacked from a poorly directed clearing kick by Highlanders scrum-half Jimmy Cowan.
The powerful wing breached the Highlanders defence about 30 metres from the line and raced away to settle a match which could have gone either way.
"I think that constructively that's some of the best footy we've played. We still made mistakes but it's a great step up," said captain Conrad Smith who singled out Savea as a "special" player.
"We kept saying to him just hang in there, the ball wasn't coming his way. But when you show a bit of maturity you can stick at it and wait and when your chance comes he scores tries and that's what we love about him."
The Hurricanes started the scoring with an early Barrett penalty only for the Highlanders to respond with fly-half Chris Noakes stepping around three defenders to score near the posts and then add the conversion.
It was a try that signalled to the Highlanders there was ground to be made by taking the direct route at the Hurricanes.
Adam Thomson led a series of pick-and-goes which took the Highlanders up to the Hurricanes line where the All Blacks flanker remained on hand to score the second try.
But while the Highlanders were scoring tries their half-time lead was restricted to 14-9 as Barrett penalties kept the Hurricanes in touch.
A Noakes penalty extended the Highlanders lead after the break, but the Hurricanes struck back immediately when they won the restart and the move ended with a try to Faifili Levave which Barrett converted from wide out.
However, in the lead up to the try, neither the linesman nor referee saw Hurricanes lock Jason Eaton step in touch before off-loading the final pass to Levave.
The Hurricanes regained the lead with 15 minutes remaining with another Barrett penalty when Thomson was penalised for a late tackle on TJ Perenara.
Replacement fly-half Mike Delany put the Highlanders back in front with a handy penalty before Savea had the final word with the match-winning try.
Final Score Highlanders 20 (14) Hurricanes 26 (9)
Tries - C Noakes, A Thomson
Pen - M Delany
Con - C Noakes 3
Tries - F. Levave, J. Savea
Pen - B Barrett 4
Con - B Barrett 2
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Keith Brown
Assistant Ref 2:Matthew Muir
TMO : Vinny Munro
1. Reggie Goodes,2. Dane Coles,3. Ben May,4. Jeremy Thrush,5. Jason Eaton,6. Faifili Levave,7. Karl Lowe,8. Victor Vito,9. TJ Perenara,10. Beauden Barrett,11. Julian Savea,12. Charlie Ngatai / Tim Bateman,13. Conrad Smith (c) ,14. Cory Jane,15. Andre Taylor
Replacements : 16. Motu Matu’u,17. Jeffery Toomaga-Allen,18. Brad Shields,19. Jack Lam,20. Chris Eaton,21. Tusi Pisi / Daniel Kirkpatrick,22. Tim Bateman / Alapati Leiua
1 Chris King 2 Andrew Hore (c) 3 Ma'afu Fia 4 Josh Bekhuis 5 Jarrad Hoeata 6 Nick Crosswell 7 Adam Thomson 8 Nasi Manu 9 Aaron Smith 10 Mike Delany 11 Hosea Gear 12 Phil Burleigh 13 Tamati Ellison 14 Siale Piutau 15 Ben Smith
Replacements : 16 Jason Rutledge 17 Bronson Murray 18 Culum Retallick 19 Tim Boys 20 Jimmy Cowan 21 Chris Noakes 22 Kenny Lynn