The Chiefs held off a spirited comeback by the Crusaders in Hamilton last night to register a nail-biting 20-17 victory and reach the Super Rugby final for just the second time.
Tries from Sona Taumalolo and Liam Messam helped put the Chiefs 17-6 ahead as the 40-minute siren sounded but Ryan Crotty touched down from the final move of the first half and Dan Carter kicked the visitors back to within three points.
The Crusaders' chances of adding to their record seven titles faded when Carter missed a chance to pull his side level with four minutes left.
The five eighth's 48-metre kick dropped just short of the posts and the Chiefs held on to the whistle.
The Chiefs are set to meet the Stormers or the Sharks in next week's final.
The South African rivals meet in Cape Town in tomorrow's second semi-final.