Relative dating is used to arrange geological events, and the rocks they leave behind, in a sequence.
The method of reading the order is called stratigraphy (layers of rock are called strata).
Studying the layers of rock or strata can also be useful. If a layer of rock containing the fossil is higher up in the sequence that another layer, you know that layer must be younger in age. This can often be complicated by the fact that geological forces can cause faulting and tilting of rocks.
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Throughout the history of life, different organisms have appeared, flourished and become extinct.
Many of these organisms have left their remains as fossils in sedimentary rocks.
Some fossils, called index fossils, are particularly useful in correlating rocks.
For a fossil to be a good index fossil, it needs to have lived during one specific time period, be easy to identify and have been abundant and found in many places. If you find ammonites in a rock in the South Island and also in a rock in the North Island, you can say that both rocks are Mesozoic.
The Wheeler Formation has been previously dated to approximately 507 million year old, so we know the trilobite is also about 507 million years old.