Only 4 per cent of NZ‘s population donates blood

Sir Graham Henry is encouraging people to donate blood. Supplied photo.

Every 18 minutes in New Zealand, someone needs blood. For some, it’s the difference between life and death.

Sir Graham Henry is teaming up with New Zealand Blood Service and making it his mission to ensure the country is match fit by strengthening the nation’s most important team, our donor registry.

“Right now, less than 4 per cent of eligible New Zealanders are blood donors," says NZBS CEO Sam Cliffe.

"Since 2016 our need for plasma has increased by 38 per cent and is forecast to continue to grow. This year alone we need to collect over 70 tonnes of plasma. 

"Relying on just 4 per cent of our population to ensure lifesaving blood and blood products are available for all, is no longer feasible. If the country is going to be able to continue to meet demand, we need more people to rise to the challenge and help us build the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench."

Sam says all New Zealanders understand the need to have a strong reserve bench, it’s what makes our sporting teams so great.

So, what better person to lead the rallying call for 100,000 new donors than Sir Graham Henry, a man who knows more than a thing or two about building a world-class reserve bench. A former blood donor himself, Sir Graham also understands the importance of blood donation.

“I think this could be the most important reserve bench of my career," says Sir Graham Henry.

“When I found out so few Kiwis donate blood, I was shocked. We need more people to step-up and become donors.

"The more people that join the reserve bench, the easier it will be for New Zealand to keep up with current and future demand. We can’t continue to expect so few to carry the health of our country.”

Joining the Reserve Bench is not about giving blood right away, it’s a commitment to be there when you are needed.

Reaching the goal of 100,000 people on the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench will maintain a healthy support system for blood and blood products for the entire country, one that’s on standby and can be called upon when needed.

“Prior to this campaign, only a select few could claim to have received a call up from Sir Graham Henry, there can be no greater honour than to be chosen to represent your country," says Sam.

“We are asking for New Zealanders to respond to Sir Graham’s call up and join the reserve bench. Even if you are not eligible to donate, you can still help by encouraging your friends, family and colleagues to join in your place. There is only one way to build the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench, and this is by unifying the country and working together."

Just like New Zealand’s other famous reserve bench, being part of the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench will mean you get called on when your country needs you most. So, will you answer Sir Graham Henry’s call up?

Join the bench

It’s really simple to get involved. All you need to do is visit Once you’ve signed up, don’t forget to encourage family and friends by sharing Sir Graham’s video. Let’s build the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench, together.

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Willing but unable

Posted on 13-08-2019 20:36 | By Ellajj

I would like to donate blood but because I was in England when mad cow disease was around I am unsuitable. It’s a shame they can’t screen the blood to see if it is good or not.

Blood Donors

Posted on 13-08-2019 13:02 | By Mal C

There are many willing citizens donating this precious resource but the Blood centre is cutting some out of doing so. I was donating but after a few visits and successful donations, was contacted by some plonker in Hamilton who said it may not be good for me to donate my blood. I suffered no fainting or light headed after effects, my blood is good and I felt bad that I could not continue because of someones so called informed decision making.


Posted on 13-08-2019 09:18 | By Mary Knight

Other countries pay donors. Says it all.