The defending Meads Cup champions scored five tries to two with Murray Williams scoring a try and adding nine points with his boot.
Buller, the beaten finalist in the Meads Cup last year had to rely on first five-eighths Hagen Schulte’s book to claim a 32-20 win over King Country. Schulte kicked 22 points, including five penalty goals, two conversions and a dropped goal as King Country scored three tries to Buller’s two.
Lochore Cup winners Wanganui had a tight tussle in a high-scoring encounter before beating neighbour Horowhenua Kapiti 39-34 while the beaten Lochore Cup finalist North Otago scraped a 17-16 win over West Coast with Ben Palmer’s penalty goal North Otago’s only points in the second half.
Wairarapa Bush demonstrated they were up for the challenge with a 36-9 away win over Thames Valley.
Pink Batts Heartland Championship results – Round One
Thames Valley 9 (J Te Ruki 3 pen)
Wairarapa Bush 36 (James Goodger 2, Nick Olsen, Inia Katia tries; Tim Priest 2 con, 4 pen).
Buller 32 (Mitieli Kaloudigibeci, Penijamini Nabainivalu tries; Hagen Schulte 2 con, 5 pen, dropped goal)
King Country 20 (Steve Te Moananui, Turanga King, Iliesa Tuvayra tries; Te Hata Wilbore con, pen).
Mid Canterbury 34 (Murray Williams, Ashton Tuck 2, Mavae Tomasi, Ewan Scott tries; Williams 3 con, pen)
South Canterbury 17 (Kieran Coll, Matthew Kottier tries; Jason Merrett 2 con, pen).
East Coast 15 (Sam Parkes, Donny Mill, Kris Palmer , tries)
Poverty Bay 60 (Leigh Bristowe 3, Carl Riini 2, Kerehama Barrett, Jake Parangatai, Tamati Samuels, Te Peehi Fairlee tries; Kahu Tamatea 6 con, pen). HT: 5-26
Horowhenua Kapiti 34 (Tipu Luke, Brandyn Laursen, Michael Tambour, Dave McErlean tries; Penalty try; Laursen 3 con, pen)
Wanganui 39 (Daniel Fitzgerald 2, Fraser Hammond, Zane Tamou, Poasa Waqanibau, Steve Perofeta tries; Zyon Hekenui 2 con; Stephen Perofeta (con, pen).
North Otago 17 (Sala Halaleva try; Ben Palmer 4 pen)
West Coast 16 (Andrew Connors, Hugo Torres tries; Torres pen’ Nik Cumming pen).