The Chiefs have beaten the Highlanders 27-21 in Dunedin to secure a place in the Super Rugby playoffs and all but end their opponents' hopes of making the playoffs.
The win also means the Chiefs will top the overall table for another week.
The competition leaders were clinical with turnover ball and ran in first half tries through winger Tim Nanai-Williams and fullback Robbie Robinson before holding off a desperate late charge from the home side.
The Highlanders were led manfully by All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson but paid the price for inaccuracy at key moments of the match and ultimately had to be satisfied with tries from replacement hooker Andrew Hore and a late effort from winger Hosea Gear.
The Highlanders are still a mathematical chance but they need other results to go their way now.