The Black Caps' first test win over South Africa in 13 years was a tantalisingly five wickets away, but an historic win has been dashed by the weather.
More than 25mm of rain has fallen on Seddon Park since midnight with another 10mm expected today.
Play was due to start at 10.30 but the pitch is still under cover with several large patches of water on the outfield, and the game was abandoned early this afternoon.
The Black Caps had the Proteas on the ropes at 80 for five in their second innings, still 95 runs in arrears of New Zealand.
With a one-nil lead in the series, the Proteas only need to draw the match to win the series.
South African captain Faf du Plessis and wicket keeper Quinton de Kock, who were both on 15, were the last recognised batsmen for the tourists and held the key to the match.
No matter the result, the Black Caps showed their ability to fight back after a meek eight-wicket loss in the second test in Wellington.
Without one of their leading batsmen - Ross Taylor - and opening bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee, New Zealand have turned on a top class performance against formidable opponent.
But while the New Zealand bowling attack has been accurate and testing, the South African's have self-imploded.
What seems to have led to the Proteas' undoing is that they appeared to be resigned to the result being a draw and were simply going through the motions.
But poor shot selection and the mid-pitch collision between Hashim Amla and fellow batsman Theunis de Bruyn has turned this match on its head.