The Canterbury Crusaders had to scrap for it but overcame a courageous Waikato Chiefs 24-13 in a thrilling final to retain the Super Rugby Aotearoa title at their Christchurch Stadium fortress on Saturday.

A packed house was treated to an exhibition of the best of New Zealand rugby from both sides before the hosts secured a 12th Super Rugby title, a second in the domestic edition and a fifth in a row.

Winger Sevu Reece and fullback Will Jordan scored tries in the first 16 minutes but thereafter the Crusaders -- reduced to 13 men in the second half -- had to rely on the boot of flyhalf Richie Mo'unga to keep the Chiefs at arm's length.

Damian McKenzie scored all the points for the Chiefs with a converted try and two penalties but the fullback will rue his usual accuracy from the tee deserting him for a period around halftime when he missed three shots at goal.