The Bulls kicked off their Australasian tour with a methodical 14-26 victory over the Hurricanes in Napier.
The Bulls led 3-15 at half time with both team's points coming from the boot including two drop goals from Morne Steyn.
Steyn started the scoring by pushing the Bulls ahead with a penalty after two minutes and a drop goal after 12 minutes.
He added his second penalty after 15 minutes, then a second drop goal for a 12-0 lead in the 23rd mninute.
His third penalty five minutes later put the Bulls ahead 15-0 while the Hurricanes only points of the first half came from Kirkpatrick's penalty in the 34th minute.
In the second half the Hurricanes adopted more of a kicking game early on which resulted in the first try of the match to Serge Lilo after four minutes of the half.
The match was anything but an advert for Super Rugby as both teams were happy to rely on kicking for their points for the next period.
As the end of the match neared the Hurricanes upped their intensity and managed to get Hosea Gear over the tryline only for Victor Matfield to hold the ball up and prevent the try.
Aaron Cruden edged the Hurricanes to within four points of the Bulls but with six minutes left on the clock Bulls winger Francois Hougaard scored a decisive try which meant the Hurricanes had to chase the game.
Despite being on the wrong side of the penalty count Bulls kicker Morne Steyn kicked five penalties to the Hurricanes three through Kirkpatrick and Cruden.
Steyn also kicked two drop goals early on which gave the Bulls momentum on the field as well as the scoreboard.
Both teams scored one try - the Bulls through winger Francois Hougaard and the Hurricanes through backrower Serge Lilo - but Steyn's unerring boot separated the teams as he racked up 21 points.
Steyn kicked seven goals from eight attempts while his Hurricanes opposite Daniel Kirkpatrick managed only two penalties from five attempts.
The win was the fourth from six matches this season for the Bulls, lifting them to second place in the South African conference behind the unbeaten Stormers.
The Hurricanes are now last in the New Zealand conference with one win from six games.
The Pretoria-based Bulls built their win in the first half when they controlled possession and territory with Steyn kicking three penalties and two drop goals to give them a 15-3 lead by halftime.
The Hurricanes fought back with a try to Lilo after 45 minutes which cut the lead to 15-8, then a penalty to Kirkpatrick which made the lead 15-11.
They had a much greater share of possession in the second half and they attacked desperately, but the Bulls' defense repelled almost every threat.
Steyn nudged the Bulls ahead 18-11 with his fourth penalty. Aaron Cruden hit back with a penalty for the Hurricanes, then Hougaard scored the try for the Bulls that decided the match.
Center Wynand Olivier made a brilliant midfield break and linked with Hougaard, who scored untouched.
If the Hurricanes had any hope of a late rally to snatch the result it was extinguished when Steyn kicked his fifth penalty in the final minutes.
Final Score Hurricanes 14 Bulls 26
Tries - S Lilo
Pen - D Kirkpatrick 2, A Cruden
Tries - F Hougaard.
Pen - M Steyn 5
Drop - M Steyn 2
Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ)
Assistant referee: AN Other(NZ), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Television match official: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)
Hurricanes : 1. John Schwalger , 2. Andrew Hore (c) , 3. Neemia Tialata , 4. Jeremy Thrush , 5. Jason Eaton , 6. Jack Lam , 7. Serge Lilo , 8. Victor Vito , 9. Chris Eaton , 10. Daniel Kirkpatrick , 11. Hosea Gear , 12. Ma'a Nonu , 13. Conrad Smith , 14. Julian Savea , 15. Cory Jane
Reserves , 16. Dane Coles , 17. Michael Bent , 18. James Broadhurst , 19. Mark Reddish , 20. Tyson Keats , 21. Aaron Cruden , 22. Charlie Ngatai
Bulls : Zane Kirchner, Bjorn Basson, Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Fourie du Preez, Pierre Spies, Dewald Potgieter, Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (c), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Gary Botha, Dean Greyling.
Replacements: Chiliboy Ralepelle, Roussouw de Klerk, Flip van der Merwe, Derick Kuun, Francois Brummer, Gerhard van den Heever, Jaco van der Westhuyzen.