Hundreds of sick Kiwis waiting for organs

The number of organ donations in New Zealand is increasing every year, due in part to intensive care staff giving families more information about organ donation.

But at any one time there are still 500 people waiting for a transplant, the majority of which are for kidneys.

Donor co-ordinator Janice Langlands says about 60 people have donated organs for transplantation this year.

"That's potentially 120 kidneys. But as I said, there's three or four hundred people waiting and so we would have to have four times as many donors."

A number of Kiwis are also waiting for tissue transplants, for which there are many different uses. 

Heart valves can be used to save babies and young people, while skin can be used to treat severe burns. 

Eye tissue, corneas and the whites of the eyes can be used to restore vision and repair eye damage.

Keith Eades had a heart transplant last year which saved his life.

"I was on the active waiting list for five days, which is extremely quick in transplant terms."

Ms Langlands says she knows talking about death with loved ones can be difficult, but she wants more people to have the conversation.

"We encourage people to have a discussion so that their family knows what their wishes are about donation."

Kiwis can also signify their wish to be a donor before they receive their driver's licence.