Andrew Hood has been donating blood for more than 20 years and says it's the "right thing" to do.

The Bay of Plenty Times caught up with the Matua resident at the Tauranga Blood Service office in Cameron Rd today as he was giving his latest donation, ahead of World Blood Donor Day tomorrow.

"I can't even remember when I started exactly but I have one of the rare blood types," he said.

"I donate a few times a year and sometimes the blood service rings me up to come in."


Hood said he was inspired to start giving blood by a work colleague who was also a donor.

"If you're fit and healthy and there is no reason you can't, I think it's the right thing to do."

Hood said his wife Helen, and their daughters Claudia, 22, and Nicola, 23, were also donors and Helen also donated plasma from time to time.

"You just never know what's around the corner and when you might need blood or plasma yourself or a family member urgently needs one of these lifesaving products."

June 14 is World Blood Donor Day and the New Zealand Blood Service says it needs 55,000 new donors to join Hood and the other "amazing" team of 110,000 Kiwi donors.

Tauranga Blood Service acting clinical nurse leader Sam Hutton said there are 4927 local active donors on its books, of which 3371 donated blood and 936 donated plasma.

Hutton said there was a huge demand for new blood and plasma donors in the region, particularly younger people aged 16 to 19 years and Māori and Pasifika people.

The most common group of donors in Tauranga were in the 50 to 59 years age bracket followed by 20 to 29 years old, she said.


Each year large numbers of donors fell off the registry for reasons such as sickness or travel, so new donors were always needed to keep the blood and plasma stocks up.

Hutton said annual demand for plasma was increasing to treat the growing number of immunodeficiency conditions and other life-threatening disorders.

"There was a demand for all blood types but the service always needed O blood types because it could be given to all patients, she said.

Hutton said donating blood was a relatively painless process.

"Some people think we are going to jab with a big needle and it will really hurt.

"But that is not the case and first-time donors are often disappointed how underwhelming the process is and are happy to be a member of our amazing team of lifesavers."

Interested donors can call 0800 448 325 for more information.