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It was a game which went down to the wire but Otago scored a try in the final 10 minutes and then hung on to win.
The game was tight in the first half and Otago led 6-3 at halftime. Otago scored three tries in the second half with some fine individual efforts from Nasi Manu, Josh Hohneck and Vilimoni Koroi.
The side went to the top of the Mitre 10 Cup championship with the win and put Canterbury in the dog box again.
Otago 23 (Sio Tomkinson, Vilimoni Koroi, Slade McDowall tries; Josh Ioane 2 pen, con)
Canterbury 16 (Mitch Drummond try; Brett Cameron con, pen, dropped goal; Fergus Burke pen) Hallftime: 6-3 Otago