New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) is highlighting the importance of Pasifika and Māori donors by letting them know just how special their blood is.
Currently, less than nine percent of active donors across Aotearoa identify as Māori and Pasifika. That is just over 10,000 donors of which only 3500 are male.
”NZBS National Manager Marketing & Communications Asuka Burge, says “Māori and Pasifika blood is quite unique.”
There are 43 recognised blood types, including the clinically significant Kidd (Jk) blood group.
“Your blood type is inherited from your parents, this means you are more likely to share the same blood subtype as someone from the same ethnic background.”
A very rare blood type called Jk3 (both JkA negative and JkB negative) can be found in about one in every 100 Māori and Pasifika donors.
The chances of finding this blood type in those with Māori and Pasifika ethnicity is greater than other ethnic groups.
In New Zealand, there are only 20 donors that currently have this rare sub-group.
NZBS are keen to build their database of donors and identify more people with this unique blood group.
Work is underway to grow their Māori and Pasifika donor database by about 27 percent or roughly 3,000 new donors over the next 12 months.
NZBS is celebrating its first-ever National Blood Donor Week from June 13 to 19.
National Blood Donor Week is a way for NZBS to say a big ‘thank you’ and recognise the lifesaving generosity of New Zealand’s donors.
Every year, almost 110,000 Kiwis donate more than 220,000 units of blood, plasma and platelets, and help save the lives of 29,000 people across Aotearoa.
To find a location to donate or book an appointment, download the NZ Blood App, visit nzblood.co.nz or call 0800 GIVE BLOOD (0800 448 325).