A police dog shot dead on duty in Christchurch in 2010 has been been awarded the animal equivalent of the George Cross.
Gage, a German Shepherd, aged five years, was killed when he leapt into the path of a bullet intended for his handler during a drugs search.
Senior Constable Bruce Lamb had already been shot in the jaw.
Gage is only one of 23 animals around the world to receive the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals gold medal.
The PDSA medal was presented by the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae on Thursday.
Senior Constable Lamb received the medal on Gage's behalf.
He took a year to recover from his injuries and said he owes his life to his dog.
Acting Commissioner Viv Rickard told the ceremony that another police officer would have died on duty if had not been for Gage's actions.
He said 23 working dogs have been killed on duty since they were introduced to New Zealand police work in the 1950's.