A washed out final day of the third Test in Hamilton will see South Africa jump ahead of Australia in the International Cricket Council's Test rankings, earning the Proteas a bonus $300,000 windfall.
Quick Single: Australia's spin high, Kohli's all-time low
The tourists were set to resume at 5-80 on the fifth morning, still trailing New Zealand by 95 runs as the Black Caps pushed for a victory that would have levelled the series.
But torrential and persistent rain at Seddon Park meant no play was possible and the Proteas escaped with the draw they needed to move ahead of Australia and into second place in the ICC rankings.
South Africa will earn a $500,000 bonus for being in second place by the April 1 cut-off date, while Australia's drop to third means they will pick up just $200,000.
India, who strengthened their grip on top spot with a 2-1 series win over Australia, will earn $1 million for finishing No.1.
Proteas skipper Faf du Plessis admitted his side was fortunate to escape the match with a draw.
"New Zealand outplayed us in this game," said du Plessis, who led his side to a famous series win in Australia earlier in the summer.
"They can count themselves very unlucky. They outplayed us in every department."
The draw is also a cruel blow to New Zealand, who will now drop from fifth to sixth spot, behind Pakistan.
Quick Single: Ten defining Border-Gavaskar moments
About 32mm rain has splattered Seddon Park since midnight on Tuesday, with at least another 17mm expected before 6pm, causing Umpires Bruce Oxenford and Rod Tucker to abandon play at 1:20pm local time.
The Waikato downpour is made all the more disappointing for the Black Caps by their successful day-four showing, when they earned a winnable position by notching up a healthy 175-run lead and then limiting a fatigued South Africa to 5-80.
South Africa's miserable second-innings batting performance stood in stark contrast to Kiwi efforts earlier in the day, with Kane Williamson's elegant 176 and a handy Colin de Grandhomme half-century securing the Black Caps a first innings of 489.
South Africa had previously picked up 314 in their rain-delayed first-innings, including a speedy 90 from Quinton de Kock.
With the Proteas on the ropes, spinner Jeetan Patel admitted on Tuesday that a rained-out Test decider would be a bitter disappointment for his side.
"It'd be cruel, but we said at the start of this Test series that we'd fight as much as we can to get back into this series and we've shown that," Patel said.
New Zealand XI: Tom Latham, Jeet Raval, Kane Williamson (c), Neil Broom, Henry Nicholls, Mitch Santner, BJ Watling (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Matt Henry, Jeetan Patel, Neil Wagner.
South Africa XI: Theunis de Bruyn, Dean Elgar, Hashim Amla, JP Duminy, Faf du Plessis (c), Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock (wk), Vernon Philander, Keshav Maharaj, Morne Morkel, Kagiso Rabada.