The Northland Kauri lost their first Farah Palmer Cup game of 2020, going down 18-5 to Waikato in Hamilton.
The Kauri were supposed to play their season opener in Kaikohe but that was postponed due to Covid-19, went down early through a penalty to the home side.
However, Northland captain Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate put her team in front with a try prior to halftime, giving the visitors a 5-3 lead.
Playing in a competitive contest, both sides threatened to pile on the points. However, it was Waikato who took the initiative with late tries to Mia Anderson, originally from Kerikeri, and Chelsea Alley.
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Alley, also a Black Fern, scored the bulk of her side's points with 13.
Through Saturday's game, eight of Northland's squad made their Farah Palmer Cup debuts - Carly Whaikawa, Hikitia Wikaira, Holli O'Sullivan, Portia Woodman, Tyla Nathan-Wong, Alexandra Kingi and Louisa Tubailagi.
It was also former Black Ferns prop Kamila Wihongi's 50th national provincial championship game, having played 42 for Otago and eight for Northland so far.
The Kauri play their first home game this weekend against a formidable Auckland side at Semenoff Stadium at 11.35am on Sunday.
The Taniwha will kick off their Mitre 10 Cup campaign against Manawatū directly after the Kauri game at the same venue.