Wellington secured four crucial ITM Cup points on Tuesday with a 36-26 victory over Bay of Plenty in Mount Maunganui.
The result sees the Lions climb to the top of the Premiership standings, level on points with Auckland, after seven rounds.
Wellington outscored the Steamers three tries to two while fly-half Lima Sopoaga finished with a 100 percent record from the kicking tee having landed all eight of his attempts at goal for a 21-point haul.
The Lions led 23-16 at half time and held a 14-point advantage at one stage but had to hold off a spirited comeback from the hosts, which saw the deficit cut to just three points deep into the second half.
The hosts took an early 10-3 lead thanks to a try to winger Mafi Kefu and a penalty from fly-half Chris Noakes.
Bay of Plenty dominated much of the error-strewn first half but conceded long-range tries to lock Ross Filipo - which levelled the scores - and winger Alipate Leiua, a spectacular 90m team effort that put the Lions 20-10 ahead.
Sopoaga and Noakes traded penalties until the break.
In the second period, Shaun Treeby gave the visitors a 14-point lead after running into a hole off a neat Sopoaga short-ball to score near the posts.
Lelia Masaga replied just before the hour mark, however, scoring a great try after Noakes dummied to an inside runner before firing a pass to his winger.
Noakes' conversion cut the gap to seven before another penalty set up a grandstand finish.
Two late Sopoaga penalties secured the victory for Wellington and denied Bay of Plenty a losing bonus-point in the process.
For Bay of Plenty:
Tries: Kefu, Masaga
Cons: Noake 2
Pens: Noake 4
Tries: Filipo, Leiua, Treeby
Cons: Sopoaga 3
Pens: Sopoaga 5
Bay of Plenty: 15 Lance MacDonald, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Kendrick Lynn, 12 Phil Burleigh, 11 Mafi Kefu, 10 Chris Noakes, 9 Lewis Hancock, 8 Luke Braid, 7 Tanerau Latimer (capt), 6 Dan Goodwin, 5 Leon Power, 4 Culum Retallick, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 John Pareanga, 1 Tristan Moran.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Greg Pleasants-Tate, 18 Carl Axtens, 19 Jesse Acton, 20 Nick McCashin, 21 Simon Rolleston, 22 Jack Wilson / Maru Henry.
Wellington: 15 Charlie Ngatai, 14 Alipate Leiua, 13 Tim Bateman, 12 Shaun Treeby, 11 Matt Proctor, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Kayne Hammington, 8 Ardie Savea, 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Lua Lokotui, 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Jeremy Thrush (capt), 3 Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Solomon Sakalia.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Whetu Henry, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Genesis Mamea, 20 Frae Wilson, 21 Ope Peleseuma, 22 Jason Woodward.
Venue: BayPark Stadium, Mt Maunganui
Referee: Keith Brown