Sport is a big issue with many New Zealanders. Consequently, activities around World Blood Donor Day in New Zealand held a distinctly sporty flavour.

The former All Black and Sevens star, Eric Rush, gave blood on the day. His message was simple. He said that everyone should give blood. “One day it could be one of your family who will need it. If everyone's too busy to donate, where are we going to be then?" Rush had personal experience of a family member needing blood. During his battle with cancer, his father received a number of transfusions, which prolonged his life.

Former All Black and Bay of Plenty hooker, Hika Reid, thanked unknown blood donors for their gift of life. A year ago he was suffering from leukaemia and needed two blood transfusions. Reid called for more New Zealanders to become blood donors.

Netballers from four teams playing in the National Bank Cup semi-finals wore temporary tattoos on their arms during matches, showing their support for blood donation. The tattoos featured the New Zealand Blood Service logo.

Several members of the national netball team, the Silver Ferns, were present at the Auckland Blood Donor Centre on World Blood Donor Day.

Other celebrities helped to promote voluntary blood donation on the day. A well-known and popular current affairs television presenter, Carol Hirschfeld, has been appointed as Ambassador for the New Zealand Blood Service.

A live blood donation took place on breakfast television on 14 June, and presenters on a morning lifestyle programme, “Good Morning”, interviewed a woman who has two young daughters whose lives were saved by blood transfusion. There was also a live blood donation by Danny Watson, the announcer on a top rating afternoon talkback radio show. A representative of the New Zealand Blood Service answered listeners’ questions while Danny donated his blood. A similar event was held the following day by a pop music station.

Many other media events took place. The main daily newspaper, the New Zealand Herald, ran a story about a six-year-old recipient of blood, who is now in remission from leukaemia. Newspapers in other regions covered events at their Regional Blood Centres.

Donor centres were decorated with balloons and posters and the two Blood Drop mascots appeared at the Auckland and Christchurch Donor Centres. All 500 staff wore promotional T-shirts on the day, and samples of these were also presented to celebrities and donors.

Paul Hayes
Marketing Manager
New Zealand Blood Service