The NZ Marist team came out of the blocks strong, scoring two tries in the opening quarter to lead 12-0.
Fullback Patrick Pati struck for the Heartland XV in the 30th minute, his North Otago teammate Robbie Smith converted to make the half time score 12-14.
South Canterbury’s Willie Wright opened the second half scoring with a try under the posts that he converted to give the Heartland XV a 14-12 lead.
A storming fourth quarter from NZ Marist team looked to cement the result with three tries pushing their lead out to 29-14.
Searching for a comeback, the Heartland XV camped in Marist’s half but struggled to find holes in a resolute defensive line until the closing play when Willie Paia’aua dotted down in the corner.
The 19-29 result saw NZ Marist claim the McRae Cup for the first time since 2011.
The New Zealand Heartland XV have travelled to Fiji and play their first of two matches on Wednesday against the Vanua XV in Lautoka.