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For the first time in New Zealand deaths in the country last year exceeded 30,000.
There were 30,080 registered deaths in the year ending December 2011 - up 6 percent, or 1640, on the 2010 year, Statistics New Zealand population statistics manager Andrea Blackburn said
But the increase was not unexpected, Ms Blackburn said.
"The number of deaths is gradually increasing due to population growth in the older age groups.''
In 2029 it was predicted deaths would surpass 40,000, and 50,000 in 2042, mid-range population projections indicated.
However, while the number of deaths increased last year, the number of births decreased.
There were 61,400 births registered in New Zealand last year, down 2490 on 2010.