Scientists have dug a 90m-long trench in Hawke's Bay in search of evidence of past earthquakes.
The Aramoana dig is hoped to provide insights that will help identify the earthquake and tsunami risk along the North Island's East Coast.
"We're trying to find out how big and how often these quakes are," project lead and GNS geologist Nicola Litchfield said.
She said the team had an incredible result yesterday, finding about 60 samples of shells they could carbon date to find out when earthquakes and tsunamis in the area occurred.
"It was incredible. There was really a lot. So we'll really be able to date the timing of the earthquakes quite precisely," she said.
"All of this feeds into understanding the earthquake and tsunami risk better."