The number of infant deaths reached record lows in 2012, Statistics New Zealand revealed today.
A total of 256 deaths in under one year olds were registered in New Zealand in 2012, down from 290 in 2011.
The infant mortality rate was 4.2 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2012, down from 4.7 in 2011, and 5.6 in 2002.
"The infant mortality rate in 2012 was the lowest ever recorded in New Zealand," population statistics project manager Joel Watkins said.
The number of Maori infants dying was 82 in 2012, down from 123 the year before.
The mortality rate for Maori infants dropped to 4.7 in 2012, down from 7 in 2011.
"Long-term trends show that the infant mortality rate has decreased more slowly in the last decade than in previous eras," Statistics New Zealand said.
The rate declined from 28.4 in 1952, to 15.6 in 1972, and to 7.2 in 1992.