The Chiefs remained on top of the Super Rugby standings and qualified for the Super Rugby play-offs when they beat the Highlanders 21-27 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin.
The result means that the Chiefs are guaranteed to finish in the top six as they are 13 points clear of the sixth placed team the Sharks who moved into the top six thanks to the bye.
The Highlanders secured a losing bonus point for finishing within 7 points of the winner which keeps them alive for another week but they will have to beat the Reds to get back into the top six.
It's likely though that the Highlanders will need a major upset for them to reach the play offs.
The Chiefs have matches against the Crusaders and Hurricanes still to play while the Highlanders have a bye after the Reds next week.
In the first match back after a three-week break for international fixtures, both sides scored two tries apiece but five penalties to Aaron Cruden proved the difference in a tightly contested New Zealand derby.
The Chiefs stunned the Highlanders with a try in the opening two minutes, Liam Messam intercepting a pass and sending Sonny Bill Williams down the field, with Tim Nanai Williams touching down for the five pointer.
Cruden converted but the Highlanders, their season on the line, continued to attack, earning two penalties to one to narrow the gap to 10-6 after 20 minutes.
They patiently dominated possession but only managed to secure a penalty before conceding against the run of play three minutes before half-time after a charge down by Ben Tameifuna led to a Robbie Robinson try.
Cruden piled on the pressure with a penalty after the half-time siren, then another just after the restart to make it 21-9.
The hosts made the most of an attacking opportunity when Sonny Bill Williams was penalised for a shoulder charge, rewarded when they opted to run the ball and hooker Andrew Hore forced the ball over from a ruck.
The Chiefs responded with a period of sustained attack but had a try disallowed when the ball was ruled held up over the line, only for the Highlanders' Adam Thomson to concede a penalty and make it 24-14.
Hosea Gear managed a try for the Highlanders three minutes from time but the Chiefs defence proved up to the task of keeping them out.
Final Score Highlanders 21 (9) Chiefs 27 (18).
Tries - A. Hore, H. Gear
Tries - T. Nanai Williams, R. Robinson
Pen - A. Cruden 5
Con - A. Cruden
Referee: Garratt Williamson
Assistant Ref 1: Vinny Munro
Assistant Ref 2: Kane McBride
TMO: Nick Briant
1. Jamie Mackintosh (c), 2. Jason Rutledge, 3. Ma'afu Fia, 4. Jarrad Hoeata, 5. Nick Crosswell, 6. Adam Thomson, 7. Tim Boys, 8. Nasi Manu, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Chris Noakes, 11. Hosea Gear, 12. Phil Burleigh, 13. Tamati Ellison, 14. Kade Poki, 15. Ben Smith.
Replacements: 16. Andrew Hore, 17. Chris King, 18. Josh Bekhuis, 19. James Haskell, 20. Jimmy Cowan, 21. Mike Delany, 22. Buxton Popoali'i.
1. Toby Smith, 2. Mahonri Schwalger, 3. Ben Tameifuna, 4. Craig Clarke (c), 5. Brodie Retallick, 6. Liam Messam, 7. Tanerau Latimer, 8. Kane Thompson, 9. Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 10. Aaron Cruden, 11. Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 12. Sonny Bill Williams, 13. Willison Jackson, 14. Tim Nanai-Williams, 15. Robbie Robinson.
Replacements: 16. Hika Elliot, 17. Sona Taumalolo, 18. Michael Fitzgerald, 19. Sam Cane, 20. Brendon Leonard, 21. Andrew Horrell, 22. Lelia Masaga.