Blood Service pushes donation as New Year's resolution

If you're still trying to think of a New Year's resolution, how about donating blood?

The New Zealand Blood Service is on the look-out for new volunteers over the summer, when donations typically drop off.

While donating blood may not be at the top of everyone's to-do list, this summer Kāpiti Coast local Suzie Beckley does it whenever she can.

"I'm doing what I can, when I can, so hopefully when I need it someone else will do the same," she told Newshub. 

She's one of about 80 donors who turned out to a mobile blood drive in Paraparaumu. Many are regulars, but a few new donors have turned up.

It's Derrick Gouws' first time giving blood in New Zealand. The South African native says his motivation is personal.

"My wife is anaemic, so it's a little bit close to my heart. I feel it's necessary for people to donate blood."

Less than 3 percent of the country donates - a number the Blood Service is trying to boost. It launched a mobile phone app this year that makes it easier to find blood drives and check eligibility.

But charge nurse Vicki Krog says fear is often the biggest barrier for those who are eligible.

"We absolutely do our best to make it as pleasant as possible. It's a fun place to be and you're walking in the door knowing that you're saving lives." 

The Blood Service loses about 20,000 donors a year who have to stop for various reasons.

It says it's always looking for new ones, and hopes people might make it a New Year's resolution.

"Instead of the usual giving up junk food or losing weight, how about donating? It'd be great," Ms Krog says.

It's a resolution that could help save the lives of 29,000 Kiwis every year.