VIDEO: Hurricanes power back to the top
VIDEO: Hurricanes power back to the topSHARE
The 2016 champions powered past the Chiefs, winning 25-13 in Wellington, to reclaim the top spot previously held by their compatriots, the defending champion Crusaders.
The Hurricanes outscored the Chiefs by three tries to one in a hard-fought battle.
It was another red-hot display from wing Ben Lam in his break-out Super Rugby season.
Lam scored one of his team's three five-pointers to extend his tally for the season to a competition-leading nine.
The home side were also bolstered by the return of the 2016 and 2017 World Player of the Year Beauden Barrett, who put his name on the scoresheet as the Hurricanes led throughout.
Lam, formerly an injury-plagued Sevens player, pressed his claim for All-Black selection as national coach Steve Hansen watched from the stands.
The result took the Hurricanes' home record to 17 wins from 18 games and ended a two-match losing streak against the Chiefs.
Captain Brad Shields admitted it was not a dominant performance but said the Hurricanes were satisfied as the season enters the halfway mark.
"All in all it was a pretty rough performance but I'm glad we came out with a win," he said.
"But we're building slowly. We've got a bye this week and we're looking forward to putting the feet up."
Chiefs skipper Sam Cane, whose team suffered their first defeat in six matches, paid tribute to the Hurricanes' scrambling defence.
"They took their opportunities and they created plenty of them," he said.
"We did too but the Hurricanes scramble was just too good for us."
Both sides had early chances as pivot Damien McKenzie fired the Chiefs' attack and Ben Lam was bundled into touch as he tried to cross in the corner for the Hurricanes.
The big wing made no mistake in the seventh minute, brushing off three defenders to score the opening try.
Barrett, returning from a thigh strain, ankle-tapped Solomona Alaimalo to stop an almost certain try.
The game's tempo was disrupted by a long delay as Chiefs prop Aiden Ross was stretchered off, seemingly with a serious ankle injury.
It roared back to life with a double strike for the Hurricanes early in the second half, taking their lead to 22-6.
Barrett swooped on the ball after Lam dislodged it from Chiefs wing Sean Wainui, then narrowly beat Brodie Retallick in a footrace to the line.
He then sent a perfectly weighted cross-field kick to Ngani Laumape, who beat Anton Lienert Brown in the air and scampered away for a five-pointer.
Lachlan Boshier clawed a try back for the Chiefs but Jordie Barrett sealed the win with a penalty after the siren.
Man of the match: Damien McKenzie kept the Hurricanes defence honest. Solomon Alaimalo broke tackles almost at will and Brodie Retallick was an ever-present physical force. Ben Lam and Jordie Barrett, the latter with some momentous try-saving tackles, played significantly influential roles. However, our award goes to Hurricanes flyhalf Beauden Barrett – who no only directed traffic brilliantly, but scored the match-defining try.
For the Hurricanes:
Tries: Lam, B Barrett, Laumape
Cons: J Barrett 2
Pens: J Barrett 2
For the Chiefs:
Con: D McKenzie
Pens: D McKenzie 2
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Vince Aso, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Jamie Booth, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Sam Henwood, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 James O'Reilly, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Ben May, 19 Murray Douglas, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Wes Goosen.
Chiefs: 15 Charlie Ngatai, 14 Sean Wainui, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Johnny Faauli, 11 Solomon Alaimalo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Taleni Seu, 7 Sam Cane (captain), 6 Lachlan Boshier, 5 Michael Allardice, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Angus Ta'avao-Matau, 2 Nathan Harris, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Liam Polwart, 17 Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18 Jeff Thwaites, 19 Luke Jacobson, 20 Liam Messam, 21 Jonathan Taumateine, 22 Marty McKenzie, 23 Alex Nankivell.
Referee: Jamie Nutbrown
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe & Cam Stone
TMO: Glenn Newman