Cruising through the Manawatu River gorge in July 2016, Senior Constable Ross Andrew came across the grisliest of scenes.
In front of him, a large truck and trailer unit lay half-submerged in the water, having slammed through a barrier and lurched 50 metres down the gorge.
Shrouded by a thick cloud of spilled milk powder, swirling around him in heavy North Island winds, Senior Constable Andrew didn't hesitate.
Taking a rope, he made his way - inch by inch - down the ravine.
Once at the bottom of the gorge, Sen Const Andrew waded through rising waters, helping a female passenger to safety and protecting the seriously injured male driver from freezing winds until the arrival of help.
As a result of that moment of fearlessness, two people survived what could've been a fatal accident - and the Manawatu police officer became one of two men to receive the New Zealand Police Association's Bravery Award on Friday.
Since retired, Sen Const Andrew's actions have been heralded as heroic by New Zealand Police Association president Chris Cahill.
"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," Mr Cahill said.
The second officer, Constable Darren Critchley, was no less valiant.
Off-shift on an afternoon in December 2016, the Kaitaia-based constable heard a police radio alert that several people were struggling in Hukatere waters.
Like Sen Const Andrew before him, Const Critchley thought not of his own safety and dived into the heavy surf.
He saved one male tourist's life, bringing him back to shore, and then re-entered the water to retrieve a drowned woman and give her emergency resuscitation.
Paramedics ultimately could not save her.
Mr Cahill was in awe of both men and their actions.
"The officers not only displayed quick thinking, but extraordinary courage to put their lives at risk to rescue others," Mr Cahill said.