New Zealand Blood Service

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New Zealand Blood Service
Te Ratonga Toto O Aotearoa
New Zealand Blood Service logo.gif
Logo of the New Zealand Blood Service
Agency overview
Formed July 1, 1998 (1998-07-01)
Jurisdiction Government of New Zealand
Headquarters Level 3, 11 Great South Road, Epsom, Auckland
Employees 608 [1]
Annual budget $116 million NZD (2014-2015)[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Sam Cliffe, CEO

The New Zealand Blood Service (abbrev: NZBS, in te reo Māori: Te Ratonga Toto O Aotearoa) is the provider of blood services for New Zealand.

NZBS is a Crown entity responsible to New Zealand’s Parliament.


New Zealand Blood Service was formed on 1 July 1998, when the Health Amendment Act 1998 was passed by Parliament. It became the appointed entity for all blood in New Zealand, holding responsibility for all blood from collection to distribution to clinician ('vein-to-vein' for blood), and for other controlled human tissues.

Approximately 29,000 New Zealanders need blood or blood products every year [2] and 4% of New Zealanders donate.


New Zealand Blood Service has four key roles:

Blood collection, based on voluntary, unpaid donations;

Processing of blood donations, by separating blood donations into blood components;

Accreditation testing of blood donations, to minimise risk to the recipients of blood and blood products;

Blood Banking at hospital-based laboratories, where blood products are tested pre-transfusion and matched to each individual patient.

Blood collection[edit]

New Zealand Blood Service carefully plans and forecasts demand from hospitals and uses this to calculate the number of appointments and donations required for the week, based on blood type. Blood type is key, as donations are matched to the blood types of the patients being treated in hospitals.

Each year New Zealand Blood Service collects approximately 120,000 whole blood donations, 22,000 plasma donations and 18,000 units of platelets.[2]

New Zealand Blood Service has nine Donor Centres around New Zealand and runs over 300 mobile blood drives each year. The Donor Centres are in Auckland (Epsom, Manukau and North Shore), Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Mobile blood drives take place in community halls, education centres and workplaces.

In order to minimise risk for recipients of blood and blood products, New Zealand Blood Service has detailed eligibility criteria in place for potential donors. These include a donor’s age, weight, health and travel history.

Whole blood donors can donate at a mobile blood drive or any of the nine Donor Centres. Plasma and platelet donations require an apheresis machine and so can only be made at eight Donor Centres with these facilities (all except Manukau).

Processing of blood donations[edit]

Blood donations are processed at four sites; Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. These sites collectively process around 160,000 donations each year.[2]

Processing involves the separation of blood donations into blood components: red cells, platelets and plasma.

Accreditation testing of blood donations[edit]

Accreditation testing is centralised in Auckland and Christchurch. Accreditation testing of all blood donations involves two distinct processes: blood grouping and screening for infectious markers.

Blood Banking[edit]

Blood Banks are the pre-transfusion testing laboratories where blood products are matched to suit each individual patient. This includes determining the patient's blood type and matching this with appropriate products.

Blood Banks are always located at the hospitals and are often staffed after hours to meet any urgent need for blood.

NZBS operates six Blood Banks in six cities from Auckland to Dunedin, and another 28 District Health Board (DHB) Blood Bank laboratories also perform pre-transfusion testing in line with defined quality standards.


  1. ^ "New Zealand Blood Service - Annual Report 2014/2015" (PDF). New Zealand Blood Service. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c "New Zealand Blood Service Annual Report 2015/16" (PDF). Retrieved 23 December 2016.

External links[edit]