Rieko Ioane scored a hat-trick as Auckland ran in seven tries en route to a resounding 54-17 hammering of Otago in the Mitre 10 Cup on Saturday.
Victory moves Auckland up to second in the Premiership division, having won five of their eight matches with the race for a semi-final spot looking likely to go down to the wire.
The hosts were quickly out of the block his cross-division fixture with Ioane touching down inside the first 10 minutes - Taleni Seu, Lolagi Visinia and Melani Nanai also going over to give the hosts a 27-10 half-time lead and secure a bonus point.
After the restart, Simon Hickey extended the advantage, with Ioane adding two more to complete his treble, while Hickey finished the match with 24 points as Otago fell to just their second loss.
In another cross-division game, Ihaia West kicked 20 points as the Premiership's bottom side Hawke's Bay earned only their second win in eight, 30-21 at Manawatu.
Meanwhile, in the Championship, North Harbour got the better of an 11-try thriller, prevailing 44-34 against Bay of Plenty.