A Good Samaritan who intervened to stop a brutal beating in Auckland has been recognised by police for his bravery.
His actions, which resulted in him being attacked when the offender then turned on him, have been praised by police who say he stopped a defenceless woman from suffering any further harm.
Gordon Ropiha was driving home from a mate's place in Howick when he came across violence the likes of which he had never seen before.
As he pulled up to an intersection, a fight on the other side of the road caught his eye.
He looked closer and could see a person, vulnerable on the ground, was being stomped on by an assailant. The blows rained down on her head.
"I thought he was going to kill her," Ropiha said.
"It was just out of this world. It really was."
He told the Herald he could not just stand by.
Ropiha, a real estate agent, got out of his car and pointed at the man as he told him to stop. There were only metres between them.
The 27-year-old stranger charged at Ropiha, who in defending himself landed several punches but did not get away unscathed.
"He grabbed me in a big bear hug and bit me on the forehead," Ropiha said.
He thinks his altercation with the offender was over in less than a minute.
But with the attacker's attention fixed on the then 57-year-old Ropiha, the woman was able to run to other bystanders for help.
"I don't think she would have lasted until the police got there if I hadn't done something," he said.
Ropiha believed the assailant must have been on drugs or something as what he was doing to the woman was out of control, he said.
"I look back and think if he had a knife or something like that, I would have been history."
In shock, Ropiha drove home where his wife of more than 30 years insisted they return to the crime scene to speak to police.
They ensured he went to hospital where he had a tetanus injection.
Today, Ropiha was awarded the District Commanders Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of the bravery he had shown in June last year.
The citation reads: "Your actions on this day undoubtedly prevented the assault continuing on this defenceless female."
The courage shown protecting the victim was to be commended, it continued, and was in the "highest traditions of the New Zealand Police".
He knows he has made his family and friends proud - including a good mate who is a senior sergeant.
"He was very proud of me. That meant a lot to me."
Ropiha felt that if in sharing his story it encouraged people to help others in need that could only be a good thing.
"If more people did that it would be a better world wouldn't it?"
Ropiha also said he wanted to emphasise he knew the offender also needed help and he hoped he got it.
Superintendent Jill Rogers, Counties Manukau District Commander, said police wanted to acknowledge the bravery shown by Ropiha when he intervened in the incident in June last year.
"Police do not expect the public to physically insert themselves into situations like this, however on this occasion Mr Ropiha should be commended for stepping in," Rogers said.
"His actions on that day likely prevented any further harm being inflicted on the victim."