A proposal by GNS Science to drill beneath the ocean off the coast of Gisborne may advance earthquake prediction technology.
The plan will be presented to a group of 24 countries, known as the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme, on Friday.
Geophysicist Laura Wallace says unique plate activity is happening in the Hikurangi trench and the area is prone to tsunamis created by earthquakes.
While a drilling vessel is there, she says detection devices could be inserted into the seabed.
However, Dr Wallace says the proposal is in its early stages and could take up to 10 years to come to fruition.
Meanwhile, ocean drilling will start in the next year on the Louisville Ridge, a chain of undersea mountains north east of New Zealand, and on the South Pacific Gyre.