The Volts won just one of their first seven games and were out of the reckoning for the playoffs.
Regardless, the team was determined to finish as it started. It has been a terrific season for Otago, the high point of which was winning the twenty/20 tournament. The Volts also finished a strong second in the Plunket Shield and were in the hunt until the very last day of the competition.
While a loss to Auckland would not have changed any of that, it would have been annoying if that was the last memory, Otago coach Vaughn Johnson said.
''It was really, really important for us to finish well,'' he said, not just for the individuals in the team but for the Otago public.
''We've appreciated their support all year and I thought it was tremendous that we were able to get across the line against a good side.''
Auckland has been the form team in the tournament but was totally outplayed by Otago. The University Oval has become a fortress for the Volts. The team went undefeated at the ground this season, which is a source of pride for the unit.
But there was also a hint of regret for Johnson that it made a poor start to the one-day tournament, because it showed with the win against Auckland how dangerous it could have been had it squeaked through to the playoffs.
''There has been a lot of talk about why we weren't able to be as consistent as we would have liked in this competition. But today I thought we bowled well after a slow start and I thought we were quite clinical with the run chase. It is a very nice way to finish.''
Jimmy Neesham had the honour of hitting the winning runs. It was a rather inglorious thick edge down to third man for a brace.
The all-rounder bowled superbly, though, taking four for 34 from 10 overs.
Ian Butler grabbed three for 36 and Nick Beard enhanced his growing reputation with one for 26 from nine overs.
They combined to dismiss Auckland for a modest 221. Anaru Kitchen hit down the ground well for a hard-hit 38 from 32 deliveries and Craig Cachopa whacked 51 from 50.
But Auckland went too hard, too soon. The visitors reached 100 runs from 99 balls and seemed on track for 300-plus. But the top order was the architect of its own demise with some poor shot selection and even worse execution.
Auckland slumped to six for 150 and, with a long tail which included Chris Martin and Bhupinder Singh, it became apparent it might not bat out its 50 overs.
Donovan Grobbelaar played a steadying hand, adding 38 from 62, and Kyle Mills chipped in with 23 from 46.
However, Auckland ended up with the sort of total sides have struggled to defend for the last two decades.
Otago made light work of the chase. Sam Wells could not get going but both Aaron Redmond (35) and Neil Broom (43) got the scoreboard rolling, and a fine 124-run partnership between Michael Bracewell (63) and Nathan McCullum (68 not out) sealed the victory.