Salvors working to remove every visible trace of Rena from the waterline have nearly achieved their task.
More than 1000 tonnes of the wrecked cargo ship's rusted shell has been collected by Resolve Marine Group over the past 10 months.
The international salvage team had been tasked with removing Rena's bow section to 1m below the water's surface in June last year.
The bow remains firmly wedged on top of the reef after the ship's October 2011 grounding.
But it has not been easy and Resolve salvage master Frank Leckey said they were behind schedule.
"On the bow, we are behind schedule just because of the weather and the dangers, being there in the surf."
Mr Leckey said it was too dangerous for divers to work on the wreck if the swell was over 1m and near perfect conditions were needed.
"The weather that we've been having, it's been nice and sunny onshore but we've had a lot of south-easterly winds with a lot of swell and it's been a lot worse than ...
"In the last two months we've maybe had 10 per cent of the time working on the bow."
Salvors have cut the port side of Rena's bow into pieces and divers were now working on the starboard side.
Mr Leckey said 60 to 70 per cent of the bow had now been removed from the reef's waterline. He said he anticipated the remainder would be removed in another couple of weeks.
On days where salvors cannot work on the bow, they work to remove debris from between the bow and stern section of the ship.
Already 620 tonnes of debris has been removed, with the aid of Resolve's large claw-like grab and crane. The team has also been tasked by Rena's owner and insurer to clear debris from cargo hold number 4 to investigate the state of two containers of beads and establish if the beads remain inside.
If so, a plan will need to be devised to remove them safely.
Resolve will be working on reducing the bow, cleaning up debris and going after cargo items for the remainder of the year.