Life-saving rescue efforts has seen two police officers awarded the Police Association's Bravery Award.

Senior Constable Ross Andrew and Constable Darren Critchley were nominated for the award by their colleagues, after two separate and risky water rescues.

On the eighth of July last year, Ross Andrew was driving through the Manawatu Gorge in windy and rainy conditions when he discovered a serious crash.

A large truck and trailer unit had smashed through a barrier and continued 50m down into the gorge, only coming to a stop when it was partly submerged.

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Andrew picked his way down the steep ravine in the bad weather, using a rope provided by a member of the public.

The scene of the 2016 Manawatu Gorge crash where Senior Constable Ross Andrew stayed with the injured driver for over an hour until he could be winched to safety. Photo / NZ Police
The scene of the 2016 Manawatu Gorge crash where Senior Constable Ross Andrew stayed with the injured driver for over an hour until he could be winched to safety. Photo / NZ Police

He waded through the rising water to the partially crushed cab and rescued a woman passenger, giving her his stab-proof vest for warmth.

The officer then returned to the vehicle and pulled out the seriously injured driver. As hypothermia was setting in, Andrew then lay beside the driver for an hour, to shelter him from the mid-winter winds until a rescue helicopter arrived.

On December 14 last year, highway patrol officer Darren Critchley had finished work and was picking his son up from school, when he heard an alert that people were in trouble at the Hukatere end of Ninety Mile Beach.

Highway patrol officer Darren Critchley was nominated for a heroic Ninety Mile Beach suref rescue that he heard of after work while picking his son up from school. Photo / Peter Jackson
Highway patrol officer Darren Critchley was nominated for a heroic Ninety Mile Beach suref rescue that he heard of after work while picking his son up from school. Photo / Peter Jackson

Despite knowing how dangerous that area was, Critchley went to the scene to try save the tourists.

He first reached the male tourist, who was at the point of disappearing under the water when Critchley reached him. He brought the man back to shore, then re-entered the water to try find the woman.

When Critchley found her, he saw she had drowned. However, he lifted her on to a surfboard and gave her mouth-to-mouth in the hopes that paramedics would be able to save her.

When she was unable to be saved, Critchley had to break the news to her distraught friends.

Police Association president Chris Cahill said both officers were examples of having the capacity to make immediate and heroic decisions under pressure.

"The officers not only displayed quick thinking, but extraordinary courage to put their lives at risk to rescue others," Cahill said.

"It is very clear that not only did they place themselves in serious danger once, in each case they went back in to find the second person.

"To be awarded the Association's Bravery Award is the highest honour we can bestow on our members, and I am tremendously proud to be associated with two officers who performed so outstandingly."

The awards were presented at the Association's 82nd annual conference, currently in its final day in Wellington.