Are you eligible to donate blood?

Every day, 135 New Zealanders need blood or blood products and for many, it quite simply means the difference between life and death. It’s not every day you can do something simple to save someone's life - but that's exactly what you do every time you donate blood.

Blood contains life-saving components that can help treat many illnesses and injuries from burn victims, trauma patients, mothers giving birth, to cancer patients. But before you can give someone that second chance at life, you need to check if you are eligible to donate.

There are strict eligibility criteria in place to ensure that it’s safe for patients to receive your blood and that it’s safe for you to donate on the day.

The basic eligibility criteria are:


  • New donors are accepted from their 16th birthday up to their 66th birthday.
  • Existing/Regular donors are accepted up to their 71st birthday.
  • Regular donors from 71st to their 76th birthday may be accepted subject to authorisation by a NZBS Medical Officer (please enquire at your next donation if you fall within these age limits).


  • Weigh at least 50kg.
  • First time donors must also meet height and weight criteria. Find out if you meet the height and weight criteria by using our eligibility quiz


  • You must be in good health at the time you donate.
  • You cannot donate if you have a cold, flu, sore throat, cold sore, stomach bug or any other infection.
  • If you have recently had a tattoo or body piercing you cannot donate for six months from the date of the procedure.
  • If you have visited the dentist for a minor procedure you must wait 24 hours before donating; for major work wait a month.


  • You must not have lived in the United Kingdom, France or the Republic of Ireland between 1980 and 1996 for a cumulative six months or more. Find out why here.
  • Travel to areas where tropical diseases are endemic, e.g. malaria, may result in a temporary deferral but this will depend on a number of factors so please check the "Donating after Travelling" tool to find out when you can donate.


  • You must have eaten some food during the four hours prior to donating.


  • You must bring appropriate identification with you each time you donate.
  • Acceptable ID is a document or a combination of documents, which contains three (3) unique points of personal information. These can be: full name, photograph, date of birth, home address, donor ID/registration number, workplace (work ID cards only) or school (school ID cards only).

Not eligible? Don’t worry, many people are also in the same boat – so instead please help to spread the word to your friends and family who may be eligible to donate blood.

Are you eligible or have more questions about your eligibility to donate blood? Then call New Zealand Blood Service on 0800 448 325 to book an appointment or to speak with a nurse for further information.


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