Four commissioners have been named to decide whether the Rena will stay on Tauranga's Astrolabe Reef.
The owners of the Rena, which ran aground in October 2011, have applied for resource consent to leave the remains of the ship where they are.
Retired Environment Court judge Gordon Whiting, Cultural Commissioner Rauru Kirikiri, marine engineer John Lumsden and environmental scientists Dr Shane Kelly were appointed as commissioners.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council said dates, a venue and requirements for the hearing will be announced next month.
The vessel hit the reef off the coast of Tauranga in 2011.
It spilt hundreds of tonnes of oil into the sea, causing one of New Zealand's worst maritime and environmental disasters.