North Harbour scored a vital 44-30 bonus-point win over Manawatu on Sunday that boosts their hopes of finishing in the ITM Cup's top seven.
Number eight Mathew Luamanu was the home side's hero with three tries as Harbour went in at the break with the bonus point already sealed.
However, they took their foot off the gas in the second period as Manawatu came out from the sheds on fire to make life uncomfortable.
Harbour were hitting all the right notes in early patches though as Anthony Boric and Luke McAlister kept themselves in All Black thinking.
But the dogged defence of the visitors kept them at bay until tries from Ken Pisi and three from Luamanu in the latter stages of the half added to Michael Harris' early penalty. Manawatu had hit the front on eighteen minutes via the boot of Isaac Thompson.
Manawatu's aforementioned comeback after the break saw lock Michael Fitzgerald, Craig Clare and captain Frank Bryant all touch down, but their spirited effort was in vein.
For North Harbour:
Tries: Pisi, Luamanu 3, Tuitavake
Con: Harris 4, Botica
Pen: Harris 2, Botica
Tries: Gosling, Fitzgerald, Clare, Bryant
Con: Thompson, Clare
Pen: Thompson 2
North Harbour: 15 Jack McPhee, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 Jack Tarrant, 12 Luke McAlister, 11 Nafi Tuitavake, 10 Mike Harris, 9 Chris Smylie (c), 8 Matt Luamanu, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Tom Chamberlain, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Anthony Boric, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 James Parsons, 1 James Afoa.
Replacements: 16 Manu Leiataua, 17 Taione Vea, 18 James King, 19 Richard Mayhew, 20 Grayson Hart, 21 Ben Botica, 22 Brendon Watt.
Manawatu: 15 Craig Clare, 14 Shannon Paku, 13 Hadleigh Parkes, 12 Frank Bryant (c), 11 Casey Stone, 10 Isaac Thompson, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Hamish Gosling, 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 James Oliver, 5 Fraser Stone, 4 Michael Fitzgerald, 3 Ma'afu Fia, 2 Rob Foreman, 1 Donal McNamara.
Replacements: 16 Sean O'Connor, 17 Karl Haitana, 18 Reece Robinson, 19 Bertus Mulder, 20 Karl Bryson, 21 Tomasi Cama, 22 Lote Raikabula.
Referee: Richard Kelly