Answer Sir Graham Henry’s call up and join the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench.

Right now there are not enough people registered to donate. So we are on a mission to create the World’s Biggest Reserve Bench. Sir Graham Henry has come on board to help us, and he knows a thing or two about a strong reserve bench, as well as being a long term donor himself.

Being on the Reserve Bench doesn’t mean you have to give blood right away, it’s a commitment to be there when needed. It means you can be called upon when required.

We need to recruit 100,000 people to join the bench. Sign up and encourage your family, friends and workmates to also join at


Promotion Toolkit
About the World's Biggest Reserve Bench Campaign (pdf, 305 KB)
How you can help with the campaign
Reserve Bench Toolkit (pdf, 12 MB)
How to be involved in building the World's Biggest Reserve Bench
Email Signature (jpg, 255 KB)
Facebook Instagram Twitter Image (jpg, 1.1 MB)
Facebook Instagram Twitter Image 2 (jpg, 1.1 MB)
Facebook Twitter Cover Photo (jpg, 1.2 MB)

Reserve Bench Poster
Reserve Bench Poster (pdf, 7.4 MB)


I am a current donor, does this campaign mean you want me to donate less once you have access to so many new donors?

As with any new donors coming on board, we need you to donate when you are called up.

Especially if you have one of the common blood types or give plasma, please give regularly as your blood type and donation is always needed.

Blood only lasts 35 days, so we always need to collect 3,500 donations a week so your donations are always appreciated.

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Do you want me to donate straight away or will I be contacted to give blood?

Our Reserve Bench campaign is about future-proofing the Service to ensure we can continue to meet demand, particularly the growing need for plasma.

We don’t expect our Reserve Bench to all donate in the first few months following the campaign, and their transition from Reserve Bench to blood donor will be carefully managed.

It’s impossible to say how long everyone will be on the reserve bench, it could be weeks or months. It will depend on their location, their blood type (if they know it), and how stock levels are at any one time. But, it’s their commitment to become a donor when needed that is important.

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What if I join the reserve bench, and then get a tattoo or go abroad?

You might be surprised to know that you only have to wait four months to donate blood after getting a tattoo, and most people who travel outside of New Zealand can still donate blood when they return. If you are unsure if you are eligible check out the eligibility quiz or check out the travel tool on our website.

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The appointment system means I can never get an appointment that works for me, why can’t I just pop in like I used to?

Appointments allow us to plan and forecast how much blood we are collecting and ensure we have enough of the right type of blood available for those who need it.  Blood and blood products have a shelf-life, for example platelets must be transfused within seven days of collection and the red cell component of blood only lasts 35 days.

Appointments have become a key factor in our planning and forecasting which is why we ask people to book an appointment whenever possible.

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How can I book an appointment to donate if I want to donate now?

We try to make it as easy as possible to book an appointment – you can speak to our call centre (0800 GIVE BLOOD), book online or use our very popular mobile app.  Please ensure you check the eligibility criteria on our website first to ensure you can donate.

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Where can I find a place to donate?

New Zealand Blood Service has nine donor centres in North Shore, Epsom, Manukau in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. All opening hours and locations can be found in the “Where to donate” section of our website.

We also have over 300 mobile drive locations throughout the country.  Our Mobile App is a great way of finding when a mobile blood drive is coming to your area and booking an appointment.

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My donor centre is only open when I am at work – why don’t you have extended opening hours or weekend openings?

We know people are busy and we absolutely appreciate that it isn’t always convenient to donate blood during the working day. 

We have extended our opening hours at several donor centres, and we are constantly reviewing our hours and looking at ways to make blood donation more accessible. For up to date opening hours visit

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Can I donate with a group of people from work or my friends?

Yes of course. Either you can book your appointments at the same time or we also have Team Red, our group blood donation programme which allows us to work with businesses and organisations to make it easier for people to donate during work hours with their colleagues and friends. 

If your workplace has enough donors, we can arrange an onsite mobile blood drive. Or if your Team Red is located near one of our main donor centres, we can arrange for a shuttle service from your place to ours. 

If your workplace doesn’t have a Team Red, talk with your colleagues and managers about creating one!  It’s really easy.

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Why do you need 100,000 people to join the bench?

We need 100,000 people to ensure we can continue to meet demand, particularly the growing need for plasma.

To donate plasma, you must have first given a whole blood donation, and then either at the Donor Centre or via a phone call with our team, change your donation type to plasma. This is because additional eligibility criteria apply to be a plasma donor, so please check with one of the team if you are interested in donating plasma.

We do know that not all 100,000 on the reserve bench will become regular blood or plasma donors.  However we are confident in the first 12 months we can bolster the donor database by as much as 15% with the support of the Reserve Bench.

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How many plasma donors do we need?

To ensure New Zealand can meet its future needs for plasma, we need to convert 3,000 whole blood donors to plasma donors who are able to commit to donating plasma at least six times a year. But we want to share the load, the more people that are plasma donors the easier it will be to reach our targets.

Currently there are just 9,000 active plasma donors in New Zealand – we have to do better, we can’t reach our targets relying on our current donors alone.

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How many plasma donations do we need?

We need to collect over 72,000 units of donated plasma this year and it is expected to continue to increase year on year.

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Why can’t you donate plasma at mobile blood drives?

Currently plasma can only be donated at one of our nine donor centres. The major barriers to incorporating plasma donation into mobile blood drives are: the specialist equipment needed to collect plasma and the associated technicalities of transporting this to mobile drives; the length of time it takes to donate plasma vs whole blood donation; the specialist skill set of our nurses, and the location of our processing laboratories.

We are looking into the viability of this, as the rising demand for plasma requires us to review all of our processes and will keep our donors informed if and when these progresses

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