What blood type are you: A or O, maybe B or AB? And are you RH positive or negative?

If you are among the 50 percent of New Zealanders who don’t know the answer to this simple question, New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) wants you to find out; because if you’re eligible to be a blood donor, knowing your type may be your first step towards becoming a lifesaver.

This call to action coincides with the launch of NZBS’s second Missing Type campaign, which lets businesses, other organisations and individuals show their support for blood donation by removing the letters A and O – the most common blood types – from their logos, branding, online content and social media accounts.

NZBS National Manager Marketing and Communications, Asuka Burge, says after last year’s campaign saw 10,000 Kiwis become new donors within five months, NZBS decided to do it again this year, with the aim of encouraging more Kiwis to become blood donors.

“The reality is that the need for blood is constant.  We need to recruit more than 20,000 new donors every year just to replace those we lose due to illness, retirement and personal choice,” says Burge.

“We currently have 110,000 registered donors but that’s less than four percent of the eligible population, and we think New Zealand can do better!  We know that for many people the first step towards becoming a donor is knowing what blood type they have, so the focus of this year’s campaign is to encourage Kiwis to see if they are eligible to be blood donors and to discover their type.”

Burge says donated blood and blood products save the lives of 27,000 Kiwis every year.

“Every day, somewhere in New Zealand, 74 people benefit from the generosity of strangers by receiving blood.  Our donors do an amazing job, and for some people they literally mean the difference between life and death. But, what many people don’t realise is that some people can only receive specific types of blood. For example, the roughly one-in-ten Kiwis who are O-negative can donate it to anyone, yet they can only receive O-negative blood themselves.”

“Our mission is to encourage more people to consider becoming a blood donor.  People can check their eligibility and book an appointment online, through our app or by visiting one of our ‘What’s my type?’ events around the country.  If you think you might be the type to save a life, all you have to do is come down to an event, find out if you meet the donor eligibility criteria, and one of our friendly team will then test your blood through a quick finger prick. Within a couple of minutes, you’ll know your type, and you can register to donate.”

NZBS figures show that in New Zealand the two most common blood types are O-positive (38%) and A-positive (32%), while the rarest types are AB-positive (3%), B-negative (2%) and AB-negative (1%).

“We all like to think we’re a little bit unique, but when it comes to blood some are more so than others. That said, anyone who’s willing to spare a little bit of their time and blood in order to save lives really is extraordinary.”

“So, if you’re not among them and you see some letters missing on your favourite brands this week, know this: we’re talking to you. Don’t stay silent any longer – help us fill the gaps,” Burge concludes.

Back to top