Auckland brought Taranaki's unbeaten run in the 2012 ITM Cup to an end thanks to a 43-32 win at Eden Park on Wednesday.
The home side looked certain winners after leading 43-13 with fifteen minutes of the match remaining, however the Ranfurly Shield holders mounted a late fightback to close the gap to 11 points.
But time wasn't on their side as Auckland held on for a crucial victory that gives them a share of the lead in the competition.
Taranaki scored five tries to four but paid for a wayward goalkicking display while Auckland benefited from a nine-from-nine return - including eight from fly-half Gareth Anscombe, who kicked 20 points.
Tries: Luatua, Mathewson, Piutau, Hughes
Cons: Anscombe 4
Pens: Anscombe 4, Hickey
Tries: Eaton 2, Cameron, Ormond, Gibson-Park
Cons: Cameron 2
Auckland: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Dave Thomas, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Hadleigh Parkes (c), 11 George Moala, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Peter Saili, 7 Sean Polwart, 6 Steven Luatua, 5 Liaki Moli, 4 Andrew van der Heijden, 3 Ofa Tu'ungafasi, 2 Tom McCartney, 1 Angus Ta'avao.
Replacements: 16 Nathan Vella, 17 Pauliasi Manu, 18 Nathan Hughes, 19 Daniel Braid, 20 Auvasa Faleali'i, 21 Simon Hickey, 22 Ben Lam.
Taranaki: 15 Kurt Baker, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Seta Tamanivula, 12 Jayden Hayward, 11 Jackson Ormond, 10 Jack Cameron, 9 Brett Goodin, 8 Blade Thomson, 7 Chris Walker, 6 Jarrad Hoeata, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Craig Clarke (c), 3 Willie Ioane, 2 Timo Tutavaha, 1 Chris King.
Replacements: 16 Sione Lea, 17 Michael Bent, 18 James Broadhurst, 19 Scott Waldrom, 20 Jamison Gibson-Park, 21 Isaia Tuifua, 22 Frazier Climo.