Paul Bird, pictured, was presented with the Paralympic Order by IPC President Andrew Parsons in Berlin ©IPC

Oceania Paralympic Committee President Paul Bird has been presented with the Paralympic Order by International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Andrew Parsons at the global governing body's Membership Gathering in Berlin.

Bird has led the continental organisation since 2006 and was recognised for 40 years of service to the Paralympic Movement.

Prior to his administrative career, the Australian was an accomplished swimmer winning two Paralympic gold medals.

The 68-year-old was a part of his nation's 4x100 metres freestyle relay-winning teams at Arnhem 1980 and New York 1984.

He also won 100m backstroke silver in the United States.

The Order aims to honour people who have "exemplified the Paralympic ideals through their actions, made remarkable strides in Paralympic sport or rendered outstanding services to the Paralympic cause."

The IPC says that it is the highest accolade anyone connected with the Paralympic Movement can achieve.

Out of the pool, Bird was Australia's Chef de Mission at five Paralympic Games and has served on the Paralympics Australia Board from 1993 to 2014.

"So well deserved Paul Bird - huge congratulations and thanks for everything you've done for our movement," said Kate McLoughlin, Australia's Chef de Mission for Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022, while she is due to do the same again at Paris 2024.

As Oceania Paralympic Committee President, Bird has worked with Governments to increase investments that support the growth of National Paralympic Committees and to create more opportunities for Para athletes across the region.