It could be more than a month before the main tourist route to the Bay of Islands reopens for traffic.
A massive slip on Lemons Hill closed State Highway 11 between Paihia and Kawakawa last Tuesday.
The Transport Agency said the hillside is still unstable and there's a high risk the 80-metre wide slip will move again.
Spokesperson Steve Mutton said earth and rock equal to about 650 truckloads was sitting precariously above the road.
He said it would have to be moved from the top down.
Mr Mutton said it was important to open the road as soon as possible, given its importance for both tourists and locals.
But he said safety came first and depending on the weather, the road could be closed for six weeks.
Detours are in place but add another 20 minutes to the trip.