An 11-year-old West Coast schoolgirl has saved a preschooler who was floating head-down in a swollen creek - thanks to her surf lifesaving training.
Yazmin Haddock, who attends Haast Primary School in one of the most isolated parts of New Zealand, was playing in the bush with three other children last Saturday when the youngest child, a 4-year-old girl, slipped and fell into the creek.
"She was down by the creek trying to pick up a stick and she fell in," Yazmin said.
"She started floating downstream and like drowning - getting mouthfuls of water. She fell in face-first."
Luckily Yazmin saw what happened and heard the girl's 6-year-old brother start "screaming" instantly.
"I was just at the top of the hill and I saw her and I ran straight down to her and took my gumboots off and jumped in to get her," Yazmin said.
The creek, which is usually still, was flowing strongly because it had been raining the night before, and the 4-year-old was carried a few metres downstream before getting trapped in some sticks and bush.
Yazmin used a technique that she learned last summer in the Kōtuku Junior Surf Lifesaving Club in Greymouth, where the family was then living.
"I kind of jumped in and swam downstream past her, and then swam back up and pulled her up using my arms," she said.
Yazmin's 9-year-old brother Keoni, who had been making a track in the bush, rushed to get the little girl's mother, who ran to the scene.
The 4-year-old was upset but unharmed.
"She started crying and she said, 'I'm never going down to the creek again,'" Yazmin said.
"But the week after that she said that she was going to go back down there, so she's not that scared of it any more."
Yazmin's mum Kylie Haddock said the water in the creek was up to Yazmin's chest but not over her head - "so she didn't have any trouble".
But the Kōtuku Surf Life Saving Club, and then Surf Life Saving New Zealand, posted the story on their Facebook pages, each drawing more than 100 "loves" and dozens of "likes".
"Wow what a save! We need more like you Yazmin, you total LIFESAVER. You will go a long way," one person commented on the Kōtuku page.
"Holy heck, Yaz you rock!!" said another.
On the national page, the North Beach Surf Lifesaving Club in Christchurch commented: "Great work Yazmin, you are a true hero."
Yazmin said she trained at the Kōtuku junior club every Sunday through terms 4 and 1 last summer.
"Next summer I'd like to carry on surf lifesaving," she said.
"I felt proud because I've had all this training and I finally got to do it and ended up saving someone's life."