Both teams exchanged penalties early in the game before the Blues went on a try-scoring rampage crossing the line four times in 15 minutes and racing out to a 31-6 lead at the half hour mark.
Blues winger Mark Telea scored the opening try and could nearly have scored the second until he passed out to Beauden Barrett for the first-five to dot down next to the posts.
Caleb Clarke used his pace to chase down a Barrett kick and score the third try.
Telea played a part in putting Rieko Ioane in space for a clear run at the Highlanders line for the fourth try.
The Highlanders were denied a try when halfback Folau Fakatava was pinged for a double movement, but minutes later the Blues were down to 14 men after Cameron Suafoa was yellow carded and they couldn't prevent Mitch Hunt from scoring the Highlanders first try of the season.
Suafoa was barely back on the field when Roger Tuivasa-Sheck picked up a yellow card five minutes after the halftime hooter had gone and the home side capitalised again when John Timu scored under the posts to close the gap going in to the break to 31-20.
It took nearly 15 minutes into the second half for the Blues to score a fifth try when Marcel Renata finished off an attacking play near the posts.
Captain Dalton Papali'i scored the Blues' sixth try running in to cross in the corner.
After all of his support work Telea scored his second and then helped put Ioane through for his second as the Blues pushed out to a 40 point lead as time ticked down in Dunedin.
Barrett was reliable off the tee, knocking over two penalties and seven conversions to start his season strongly.