Tongan man, Taufui Paea, is one of five men honoured in New Zealand for acts of bravery in The Queen's Special Honours List.
The recipients of the bravery awards were announced this morning.
The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, says the other four awards have been given to police officers, who daily face danger with professionalism and bravery.
Mr Paea received the highest of the awards, the Bravery Star for trying to save his neighbour from a stabbing attack in 2006.
He suffered a serious knife wound to his face.
Mr Paea says the award came as a complete surprise.
"I can't believe it I have this, and I'm very, very happy and same as my family too."