A body believed to be that of missing man Amandeep Singh, 22, has been returned to Gisborne following a post-mortem examination but is yet to be released by the coroner.
Police now say it could be weeks before they are able to complete the formal identification of the body found at Kaiti Beach near the city a week ago yesterday.
Mr Singh's wife and sister-in-law are expected in Gisborne from Tauranga, pending the release of the body.
Police confirmed the body had been returned to Gisborne following the autopsy but it had not yet been released by the coroner.
Homicide inquiry head Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Scott said formal identification of the remains would have to be done forensically.
"There are no dental or other records of Mr Singh available in New Zealand and we have to obtain that material from his family in India." He said that process would most likely take "some time".
Mr Scott said the formal identification process was important and had to be finished conclusively.
"It is not slowing the inquiry down," he said.
A dozen detectives from outside Gisborne were still in the city to assist with the inquiry.
"Information from the public has been coming in and we are working through that."
Mr Scott said police hoped people would keep coming forward with information.
A spokesman for Mr Singh's family said Mr Singh's wife and sister-in-law were travelling to Gisborne as part of their grieving for him.
He hoped their privacy would be respected.
A public fundraising appeal for the family has raised more than $1000 since it opened on Tuesday.