The same number of people have died in the Wellington region each year for the last two years.
Figures released by Statistics New Zealand in the past 14 years show 3122 people died in both 2012 and 2011 - the highest recorded since 1999.
This is compared with Wellington births, which last year hit their lowest point since 2005.
There were 6435 births recorded, 92 less than the year before but 209 more than 2005.
Across the country the number of infant deaths and the infant mortality rate were at record lows last year.
There were 256 infant deaths (under one year of age) registered in New Zealand last year, down from 290 in 2011.
"The infant mortality rate in 2012 was the lowest ever recorded in New Zealand," population statistics project manager Joel Watkins said.
The lower infant mortality rate has been attributed to a decrease in the number of Maori infants dying, which dropped to 4.7 per 1000 deaths, compared with 7.0 in 2011.
Despite the positive outlook for the infant mortality rate, Mr Watkins said long-term trends show that the infant mortality rate has decreased more slowly in the past decade than in previous eras.
Last year it was women aged between 30 and 34 years old who had the highest fertility rate, totalling 122 births per 1000 women.
In second place was women aged 25 to 29 years old with 105 births.
Breaking down the regions, Auckland had the highest number of deaths last year at 7665, similar to 2011, which was 7692.
Mr Watkins said although Auckland is home to approximately one-third of the country's population, it only accounted for one-quarter of all deaths.
''This is due to the region's relatively young age structure,'' he said.
Auckland's median age is 34 years old, compared with the national population median age of 37 years old.
In the December 2012 year:
- 61,178 live births and 30,099 deaths were registered in New Zealand, resulting in a natural increase (live births minus deaths) of 31,079.
- There were 225 fewer births and 17 more deaths compared with 2011.
- The total fertility rate was 2.0 births per woman.
- The infant mortality rate was 4.2 deaths per 1000 live births.
- The Dominion Post
Does more need to be done to protect NZ passports?