Independent commissioners have granted consent to build the $10 million extension to Queens Wharf which will provide berthage for large cruise ships.
The 90-metre fixed gangway extension and two 15m by 15m concrete mooring structures fixed to the seabed, known as dolphin, is now set to go ahead.
The wharf can currently provide for cruise ships up to 294m and the dolphins will allow for ships of up to 362m.
Panuku Development Auckland lodged the resource consent application in July last year, which was followed by public submissions and five days of hearings.
Yesterday, the panel of three announced their decision to grant resource consent for the dolphins, subject to certain conditions.
"The proposal by Panuku that the occupation consent for the dolphins expire once Captain Cook Wharf is operational as a large cruise ship berth, or in 15 years' time (whichever is the earlier), and that the structures are then removed, was a key feature of the application that weighed in its favour," they said.
Numerous community and urban design groups have been fighting to stop the dolphin proposal, opposing further expansion of the harbour for port use.
Stop Stealing Our Harbour spokesman Michael Goldwater said allowing consent to be given was a disappointing outcome.
"We should be using existing infrastructure to berth these boats," he told Newstalk ZB.
"This resource consent outcome is a failure of leadership by Mayor Goff and Auckland Council who have valued corporate welfare for the cruise industry over the long term wellbeing of our harbour.
Goldwater highlighted the potential environmental impact the extension could have on the harbour as a major concern.
However, the commissioners believed the impacts could be "avoided, remedied or mitigated" to an acceptable level.
Panuku Development chief operating officer David Rankin said the decision was being welcomed by the organisation.
The decision will enable to necessary infrastructure for the cruise industry to ensure continued growth to the sector, he said.
"The decision has thrown a lifeline to the cruise industry, which is facing increasing pressure from international ports to compete as larger ships continue to enter the market," he said.
"Our growing cruise ship industry provides significant economic benefits to Auckland businesses; last year cruise ships transported nearly 270,000 passengers directly to the heart of our city providing a boost to the $200 million and 3000 local jobs that the cruise industry adds to the region's economy."
New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive Kevin O'Sullivan also agreed the decision was an important win for the local industry.
"It will ensure that Auckland will continue to be an important and integral part of regional cruise tourism," he said.
"The provision of infrastructure for these larger cruise ships in Auckland will integrate well into the considerable development of infrastructure of large ships which has been carried out in other New Zealand ports."
Following the decision from the commissioners, an appeal period is now open until May 15 for those who made submissions on the application.