When Shane Ashton saw a submerged body in a flooded creek, he didn't hesitate to jump in.
The former Rotorua man, now a senior constable with the Queensland police, recently received a red ribbon and was commended for brave conduct in relation to the 2011 incident.
Mr Ashton, then a constable, and his colleagues had gone to a park after reports a man was behaving irrationally. They were told the man had gone into a flooded creek.
"I could see the body under the water and knew I had little time to react so I jumped from the bank of the stream into the water without too much thought," he said.
"Luckily the water was not too deep although I could not see the bottom. I remember there was a lot of floating branches and tree matter in the water as we were still experiencing heavy rain due to the Queensland floods at the time."
He dragged the unconscious man out of the water and gave him CPR until ambulance officers arrived. Sadly the man died.
"When I went back over it with a detective later I must have dragged him over a number of reeds and branches in the stream although I don't remember doing this. I think most police would agree that you just react, I guess based mainly on a desire to help others. I was very humbled and surprised to receive the award when announced," he said.
"I also feel proud that the recognition is given to a Kiwi living in Oz. Kiwis contribute in a positive way to Australian society and receive little recognition for this."
Mr Ashton grew up in Rotorua, attending Otonga Primary, Rotorua Intermediate and Rotorua Boys' High School.
"I remember the freezing mornings doing my Herald run while it was still dark and the part-time job I had at the old Friar Tuck Restaurant in town.
"Rotorua formed the person I am today without doubt."
Mr Ashton's mother Pat Ashton, who still lives in Rotorua, said the award meant a lot to her and she was proud of him.
"He is very passionate about what he does, he has told us a few gruesome things that he has had to do, but he takes it in his stride."