What to expect

Giving blood is easy and confidential


All you need to do is make an appointment at your local donor centre (see locations for opening hours and contact details ) or by calling 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325). Trained staff will then do the rest.

Click here to watch a video on the donation process.

Usually taking about 1 hour, it includes the following steps.


When you arrive, you will check-in at the reception desk (remember to bring suitable ID with you) and complete a Donor Health Questionnaire that asks questions about your health, lifestyle and disease risk factors. You'll also be asked to read 2 compulsory leaflets.

These questions are designed to identify those individuals whose behaviour puts them at an increased risk of acquiring blood borne diseases such as HIV, hepatitis and other infectious diseases.

You will then have a confidential interview with a NZBS nurse who will also check your haemoglobin levels (using a finger prick test) and answer any questions you may have. This is to make sure that it is both safe for you to donate and for your blood to be transfused to a patient.

Donating blood

After being interviewed, you'll be seated on a comfortable chair, your arm will be cleaned and a single use, sterile needle will be inserted into a vein in your arm. There may be a moment of slight discomfort as the needle goes in - sorry it is the only way to get the blood out.

The blood is collected in a sterile bag, which takes about 5 to 14 minutes. A unit of blood (around 470mL) will be collected. The actual blood donation process is relatively simple. The needle is then removed and a bandage is applied.

A new needle and collection bag is used to collect each blood donation. Needles and bags are never reused.


After donating blood, you will be asked to rest on the chair for around 5 to 10 minutes. When you are ready, you will be invited to have refreshments in the recovery area. We like to keep an eye on you for another 10-15 minutes to make sure that you are feeling OK before you leave.

If you can, we would appreciate you making another appointment before you leave as we would like to see you come back again in 3 months.

Thank you for donating - you've just helped save a life.

All About Donating Blood (pdf, 493 KB)

You may need to download Adobe Reader to view the PDF files. It is available free from the Adobe site(external link).

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