Sportal.co.nz 16.Mar.2013Getty Images
It was a major confidence-booster for the Hurricanes after their 29-28 win over the Crusaders last week.
They withstood a desperate wave of attacks by the Highlanders late in a game in which the lead had see-sawed.
"The boys showed a lot of heart and courage," Vito said.
"We're still making a lot of mistakes but to come out with a win in Dunedin is massive for us.
"It was a real dog-fight and you could tell that by the bodies of the forwards. They were really throwing themselves into contact."
Outstanding halfback TJ Perenara said it was a fast-paced game in which both teams had their periods of dominance.
"It was one of those games where they had to weather our storm and we had to weather theirs. I was stoked we won but there are still things to work on."
It was a deeply frustrating night for the Highlanders.
Their third consecutive home loss and their casualty list increased by injuries to captain Andrew Hore, who left the field with damaged rib cartilages after seven minutes.
His replacement, Brayden Mitchell, was injured seven minutes from time.
That led to uncontested scrums with first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga playing flanker for the Highlanders.
Acting captain Brad Thorn, who had a mighty all-round game, said he and his team-mates had to continue to strive for excellence.
"Our mistakes added up and what we need is more patience to look after the ball," he said.
"I don't care if we'd won three games, it wouldn't change anything. I just want us to be the best we can be and we've still got a way to go.
"Losing sucks. I want us to win but nothing changes. We just have to work harder."
The Hurricanes will go into their bye next week with a two win-two loss record while the winless Highlanders will travel to Hamilton to play the defending champion Chiefs on Friday night.