Wanted: 20,000 Kiwis who could become over-night life-savers simply by taking five minutes out of their day and signing up to be blood donors.

The New Zealand Blood Service has embarked on its 2017 blood donor drive - this year title "What's My Type".

For the next week the service will host a series of events where potential donors can find out what type of blood they have - via simple and painless pin-prick test - and then hopefully sign up to be a donor.

The decision can be a life-saving one - with blood donations saving the improving the lives of around 27,000 people a year in New Zealand - and the process only takes five minutes in total.

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"We never take the commitment of our amazing donors for granted," New Zealand Blood Service's marketing manager Asuka Burge said.

"Taking five minutes out of your day to find out your blood type and sign up to become a blood donor could mean the difference between life and death for someone. Every whole blood donation has the potential to save three lives.

"We think that's three great reasons to become a blood donor."

Each year the service needs to recruit 20,000 new donors in order to replace those who exit the list due to a variety of reasons; including illness, travel to some countries where the presence of tropical diseases or endemic leads to a mandatory stand-down, retirement or personal choice.

Burge said more than 50 per cent of New Zealanders didn't know what their blood type was.

The service hoped the "What's My Type" events - which would allow New Zealanders to find out the what type of blood they had pumping through their veins would be the first step to some becoming donors.

"We are making it our mission to help as many Kiwis as possible find out if they are the type to save a life," Burge said.

"Blood donation not only touches the lives of the beneficiary but their whanau and friends," Burge said.

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"Knowing that your blood helped a traumatic injury patient get the chance to celebrate many more birthdays or meant a child became well enough to go home to his or her family or gave a cancer patient renewed strength to fight their battle is something to be very proud of. "

Kiwis can give blood at nine donor centres; in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Hastings, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Donations are also made a variety of mobile sites around the country.

"Over 50 percent of all whole blood donations across New Zealand are collected via our mobile blood drives," Burge said.

"Mobile collections are an efficient and effective way to collect blood across many areas of the country and we are able to schedule collections according to demand. In the last year our mobile teams travelled around 424,000 kilometers, which would get you to the moon and a little way back again."

• NZME is the official media partner of the New Zealand Blood Service's 2017 campaign