Rotorua's blood service desperately needs fresh blood to join its "amazing team" of blood and plasma donors whose gift save lives, the service's donor recruiter says.

Nationwide the New Zealand Blood Service urgently needs 55,000 more people to become community heroes and join its lifesaving team of blood and plasma donors.

Today is World Blood Donor Day and the New Zealand Blood Service is on a recruitment drive to encourage more people to join the team of 110,000 Kiwi donors.

Blood donor recruiter Nephi Arthur, from the Rotorua branch of NZ Blood Service, said he aimed to get 100 new people coming through its mobile service each week.


"We have 1340 active donors on our books in Rotorua but we always keen to find fresh people willing to join our amazing team of donors to keep our stocks up.

"We need more heroes to help ensure that the NZ Blood Service can continue to meet the demand for blood and blood products in the years to come, "Arthur said.

Arthur said 38 per cent of the population were O-Positive and 32 per cent A-Positive nationwide and that was why there was a huge demand for those blood types.

"Currently, about 10 per cent of Maori donate blood and I'd like to see that increase to 15 per cent to at least reflect the percentage of our overall population," he said.

"We are also focused on recruiting more Maori and Pacific Islanders to donate plasma as the current donor pool is small," he said.

Many people, particularly those with immune deficiencies, and life-threatening conditions rely on often weekly transfusions of plasma to lead a "normal" life, he said.

Arthur said there was also a growing demand for more young people aged 16 to 19 years to sign up, and more men willing to become plasma donors.

Next Monday and Tuesday in Rotorua, the blood service will be at the Distinction Hotel, 390 Fenton St from 1pm to 7pm and 8am to 1pm respectively.


"On behalf of the 29,000 people who last year received lifesaving blood and blood products we want to say a heartfelt thank you." Asuka Burge, the NZ Blood Service's national marketing manager said.

"Every week, rain or shine, blood donors give their time and their blood to help save the lives of others. For some recipients it makes the difference between life and death, for others it enables them to live a normal life in the face of a life-threatening illness.

"We want to say a huge thank you to all the 110,000 wonderful blood donors around New Zealand – you are our heroes," Burge said.

"Our message is simple, if you can donate, please register today and become part of our lifesaving community."