Key Points:

An Auckland man holidaying in Waipawa made the drive of a lifetime last week, just in time for staff at the Napier Donor Centre to put his rare blood on a plane to Auckland.

Barry Pratt, a real estate agent holidaying in Hawkes Bay, got a call on the Tuesday morning to say his O negative blood was needed by Auckland woman Natalie Wong's unborn baby.

The antibodies in her blood were attacking the unborn baby's red blood cells, making the risk of cardiac arrest high.

But there were only seven registered blood donors in the country whose blood could be used for a transfusion.

So 62-year-old Mr Pratt made the drive to Napier and gave blood which the New Zealand Blood Service's Bonnie Burch then drove to Hawkes Bay Airport to be taken to Auckland.

Mr Pratt said he did not know anything about the circumstances when he made the drive, except that it was for a baby.

When he was rung to let him know the transfusion was a success, he was told the baby had not yet been born.

"It gives you a buzz knowing you are helping someone, but it was a bit special in this case," Mr Pratt said. He was full of praise for Mrs Burch and her team.

"The whole thing was a good experience to be part of," he said.

Mrs Burch praised Mr Pratt in return: "He was just awesome driving up from Waipawa."

She said she heard the intrauterine transfusion had been successfully performed on Thursday.

"I just thought, 'Oh yay."'