VIDEO: Clinical Canes too good for Highlanders
The Hurricanes scored four tries to two, extending an impressive home record which includes wins over defending champions Crusaders and the Blues.
The result will be a jolt for the Highlanders, who went into the match with three wins from three but had not played away from their Dunedin home this season.
Waisake Naholo was the standout performer for the Highlanders, scoring their two tries.
But Ben Lam's brace, combined with Beauden Barrett's opener and Vince Aso's try sealed the win.
All the worst Highlanders' nightmares were evident six minutes into the game when Highlanders centre Rob Thompson put a grubber kick through to open space. Bearing down on the ball were two All Blacks, Beauden Barrett for the home team and Ben Smith for the Highlanders.
However, it was Barrett who regathered the ball and scored the first try of the match.
As the match progressed the Highlanders gained more possession and with penalties coming their way they dictated play. It took a covering scything dive by prop Ben May, on a Highlanders' counter-attack led by wing Tevita Li, to prevent an earlier try.
Eventually, the visitors had their first try after 20 minutes of play thanks to Naholo.
However, the celebrations were short-lived as the hosts had the last say before half-time. A great loop pass by Laumape found Lam outwide and the wing powered past three defenders for his first try.
The Hurricanes took a 12-5 lead at the break.
In the second half, the Highlanders drew level when Naholo's kick-chase landed perfectly for the wing to go over the line for his second try.
Tied at 12-12, the Hurricanes switched on the class in the last quarter of the match.
They enjoyed possession and thanks to some spectacular mid-aid touchdown effort from Aso, the side took the 19-12 lead.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, Lam powered his way past defenders for his second try and the comfortable win for the hosts.
Man of the match: Hurricanes Brad Shields work rate at the breakdown deserves a mention. However, the nod for the man of the match has to go to centre Ngani Laumape for his overall good performance.
Tries: B Barrett, Lam 2, Aso
Cons: B Barrett 3
Pen: J. Barrett
Tries: Naholo 2
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Julian Savea, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Ben Lam, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Thomas Perenara, 8 Gareth Evans, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Murray Douglas, 3 Ben May, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Chris Eves.
Replacements: 16 Asafo Aumua, 17 Fraser Armstrong, 18 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 19 Michael Fatialofa, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Richard Judd, 22 Ihaia West, 23 Vince Aso.
Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Rob Thompson, 12 Tei Walden, 11 Tevita Li, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Luke Whitelock, 7 Dillon Hunt, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Tom Franklin, 4 Jackson Hemopo, 3 Tyrel Lomax, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Daniel Lienert-Brown.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon (co-captain), 17 Aki Seiuli, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Shannon Frizell, 20 Marino Mikaele Tu'u, 21 Kayne Hammington, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Matt Faddes.
Referee: Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Richard Kelly (New Zealand)
TMO: Shane McDermott (New Zealand)