Maritime New Zealand has approved a pause in work on salvaging the Rena while the wrecked ship's owners wait for their resource consent application to be heard.
The owners have been seeking permission to leave sections of the wreck and some debris on Astrolabe reef, where the container ship grounded in 2011.
Maritime New Zealand said the pause would take effect only once the wreck reached the state set out in the consent application, which was expected to be heard later this year.
Agency director Keith Manch said it would not have been reasonable to require further salvage work until the consent issue was settled.
Meanwhile notices remained in place flagging the wreck as a hazard to navigation.