It was not a pretty performance from the hosts, but a healthy crowd of 27,011 at the Sydney Football Stadium did not mind as the Tahs delivered on their pre-season promise.
League convert Timana Tahu had a hand in two of the Waratahs' three tries on a convincing debut while full-back Lachlan Turner went over twice.
The Waratahs made plenty of mistakes as they got to grips with rugby's new laws but there was no questioning their players' commitment or desire in a fast-paced encounter.
The hosts went into the break leading 10-3 after an entertaining first half.
In one of his first touches at Super 14 level, Tahu set up the Waratahs' first try with a moment of skill and quick thinking after 18 minutes.
After Kurtley Beale and Lote Tuqiri handled from a scrum win close to the Hurricanes' line, Tahu brilliantly tapped on a pass for the flying Turner to power over in the corner. Beale landed the sideline conversion for an early 7-0 lead.
The Hurricanes narrowed the gap five minutes later when Jimmy Gopperth slotted a penalty goal.
But Beale restored the seven-point advantage in the 37th minute, landing a 42-metre penalty.
The Tahs made a flying start to the second half, crossing for a try after just three minutes through Rocky Elsom.
The industrious back-rower picked the ball up from the breakdown and fought his way through a tangle of bodies to plant down for the hosts' second try.
Beale was unable to land the extras from a wide angle, however, leaving the home side nursing a handy 15-3 lead.
It took the Waratahs another 31 minutes to find the line again and put the game beyond the Hurricanes' reach.
Beale found Tahu close to the line and the former Parramatta Eel took on the defence and flicked a pass out for Turner to cross over out wide.
Replacement Sam Harris had seemingly given his side a four-try bonus point in the dying seconds when he went over but the referee ruled it out for a forward pass.