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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

These tables contain information on the underlying causes of all deaths registered in New Zealand in 2016. A ‘Quick facts’ section also includes information on rates of death by ethnicity and selected causes of mortality.

Most information is broken down by age, sex, ethnicity, district health board and statistical classification chapters, subgroups and three character codes.

These tables form part of the Mortality and Demographic Data annual series.

This data is sourced from the Mortality Collection.

This data was extracted on 7 June 2019.

At the time this mortality data was extracted, there were 141 deaths awaiting final coroners’ findings. Of these, 21 deaths had no known cause and 120 deaths had a provisional cause (ie, not yet confirmed). These tables will be updated later in 2019 as coroners complete their findings.

Note that as the 21 deaths with no known cause are assigned a cause, this will likely shift the number of deaths due to external causes of mortality. Please use caution when interpreting counts for death registrations U50-Y98.

We have quality checked the collection, extraction, and reporting of the data presented here. However errors can occur. Contact the Ministry of Health if you have any concerns regarding any of the data or analyses presented here, at

Quick facts

  • There were 31,384 deaths registered in 2016, equating to an age-standardised rate of 364.2 deaths per 100,000 population.
  • Males accounted for 15,893 deaths in 2016, slightly higher than for females (15,491).
  • Māori accounted for 3,465 deaths in 2016, 11% of all deaths registered.
  • The leading causes of death were cancer, ischaemic heart diseases and cerebrovascular diseases. Cancer deaths made up 30.3% of all deaths, ischaemic heart diseases 14.9% and cerebrovascular diseases 7.4%.
  • For Māori, the leading causes of death in 2016 were cancer, ischaemic heart diseases and chronic lower respiratory diseases.
  • Similar to previous years, mortality rates were generally higher for males than for females. For example, males had higher mortality rates for intentional self-harm, motor vehicle accidents, melanoma and ischaemic heart diseases compared with females in 2016.
  • As seen in previous years, mortality rates for Māori were generally higher than for non-Māori. For example, Māori had higher mortality rates for ischaemic heart diseases, diabetes mellitus and lung cancer compared with non-Māori in 2016.
Total number of deaths and mortality rates, 2016
  Number of deaths Percentage of deaths by sex Mortality rate
Total Male Female Male Female Total Male Female
Māori 3,465 1,870 1,595 54.0 46.0 621.2 737.0 527.8
Non-Māori 27,919 14,023 13,896 50.2 49.8 337.1 393.7 286.1
Total 31,384 15,893 15,491 50.6 49.4 364.2 425.3 309.6

Note: rates per 100,000 population, age standardised to WHO World Standard Population.