Wales conceded six tries to the two-time Super Rugby champions as they crashed to a 40-7 defeat against the Chiefs
There were plenty of periods of pressure from the tourists, but theyfailed to turn their pressure into points and came away with only one try in the 56th minute from replacement hooker Kristian Dacey. Rhys Priestland added the conversion to cut the gap to 14 points.
That was the best they could do in a second half in which the home side defended superbly and hit Wales on the counter attack in the final quarter to add three more tries to the three they scored in the first half.
Wales were forced to make three changes to their selected matchday squad. Ross Moriarty and Gareth Anscombe both dropped out of the replacements and Sam Warburton came into the back row for Ellis Jenkins.
Jenkins had a sore thigh, but is expected to be fit for the second Test at the weekend, while Anscombe failed to come through the warm-up because of the hip injury he picked up in Auckland last weekend. Moriarty was stood down after complaining of soreness from his efforts at Eden Park four days earlier.
The home side, who as Waikato had beaten Wales at the same venue in 1988, struck early as their captain, 2011 World Cup final match winner Stephen Donald, weaved his way through the Welsh defence after a line-out steal and offloaded to half-back partner Brad Weber, who ran 25 metres unopposed to the posts.
Donald added the conversion and Wales had received an early reminder that even with 20 players ruled out through international commitments and injury the home side were going to be highly competitive.
Wales recovered their poise and should have scored as they dominated the rest of the opening quarter. Scrum half Gareth Davies got to within five metres, wing Eli Walker was hauled down inches short and then No 8 James King was scragged on the line and conceded a penalty.
Having ridden their luck, the Chiefs came back onto the offensive and they ended the half with a flourish as No 8 Tom Sanders drove over for a try at the posts and hen lock Dom Bird crossed wide out. Donald converted both and Wales were all at sea.
Things got better in the second half as the tourists kept the ball tighter and the introduction of Faletau and Bradley Davies added extra impetus. Eventually they were able to make their pressure tell as they drove Dacey over for a try after 56 minutes which Rhys Priestland converted.
That was the high water mark for Wales, who then conceded three more tries before the end to James Lowe, Toni Pulu and Sam McNicol. Donald added a fourth conversion before leaving the field to a standing ovation and James Lowe knocked over the final conversion to make it a 33 point gap - Wales' biggest provincial defeat in New Zealand.