No one would want to come face-to-face with a living mosasaur, a prehistoric marine predator believed to grow as large as 17m long.
But a man who came face-to-tooth with a long-dead one in the mountains of northern Hawke's Bay, has now been celebrated for his find.
Pete Shaw has been awarded the Harold Wellman Prize by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand for the discovery of NZ's largest fossilised mosasaur tooth, as well as other important fossil material, in the Maungataniwha Forest.
Maungataniwha is a geologically significant site in New Zealand.
It was the first place where evidence of land-based dinosaurs was discovered in New Zealand, by the renowned New Zealand palaeontologist Joan Wiffen.
Shaw is a trustee of the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust, which owns property in Maungataniwha.
The citation for his award states he has discovered numerous species of reptiles and outcrops rich in molluscan remains.
He also has expanded on Wiffen's work, including forging routes into remote places she was never able to visit.
Shaw said if there is one place which is the epicentre of New Zealand palaeontology, it is Maungataniwha.
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"My interest in the fossil treasure-trove here was sparked by meeting [Joan ], whose work truly was inspirational.
"We're privileged to be able to curate this astonishing area for the people of New Zealand."
Shaw was out with Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Helen Jonas in 2015, looking for whio (blue duck), when he spotted a rock with a large piece of bone in it.
Jonas was interested to see whether the bone extended through the entire rock, so Shaw jumped into a nearby pool to fetch a stick to lever the rock loose.
While in the pool he felt something rough, and pulled out the rock containing the fossilised mosasaur jaw fragment.
It's not the only marine fossil that has been found in the area.
In June 2014 walkers in the area discovered the fossil of an unusually large ammonite, a squid like creature around at the time of the dinosaurs.
Marine fossils can also be found on Te Mata Peak.