Bravery awards have been given to 27 people who helped save lives in the aftermath of the the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch.
The awards were presented on Thursday by the Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae in Christchurch's transitional cathedral.
Sir Jerry told the gathering that many of those trapped in the collapsed buildings thought they were in concrete coffins.
He said it was due to the extraordinary efforts of people like those receiving the awards that many people were saved.
Some of those who were recognised included doctors Bryce Curran and Lydia Johns-Putra, who, along with police officers Danny Johanson and firefighter Scott Shadbolt, rescued a man trapped in the Pyne Gould building.
As severe aftershocks continued, the group carried out a double amputation of the man's legs, which ensured he survived and could be freed from the building.