Having already kicked a first-half penalty goal, the metronomic Halfpenny appeared to guide his side home with two further second-half three-pointers.
The Blues were also imperfect, with a nervous Stephen Perofeta making his starting debut at first-five on the biggest stage, but played more adventurously than their opponents and picked up the first try through Rieko Ioane in the seventh minute. The Blues were more settled when West took over in the second half.
"It's obviously very emotional, and we just want to offer huge condolences from the whole squad, management, players and everyone connected with the Lions to those families who lost seven lives", said Howley. So we definitely need to tighten up in that area and be hard on ourselves.
Maro Itoje - to Lawes' left - sees Sonny Bill Williams coming in support, but it's too late as Luatua delivers a ideal offload out the back of the hand to his Blues and All Blacks teammate. I thought generally we did that well but it's one moment.
"There is so much strength in depth in this country I don't think there is going to be a lot of difference between some of the Super Rugby sides and the All Blacks", Gatland said.
The tourists hoped that the match had been saved when Halfpenny's third penalty put them ahead 16-15 with 10 minutes remaining.
After being pushed close by the Provincial Barbarians at the weekend, the Lions were undone by a moment of magic from Steven Luatua and Sonny Bill Williams to send Ihaia West over to secure a famous victory in front of more than 40,000 fans. In a flash, the Lions went from a one-point lead to a six-point loss.
But Williams' try on halftime swung the match. The pomp and ceremony added another layer of intrigue to an already compelling Lions tour.