Since May 9, four patients at the Hawke's Bay Hospital had been diagnosed with the bacterial disease, said spokeswoman Anna Kirk.
She said listeria likely caused the death of one woman and was a contributing factor in the death of a second. One woman who died was in her 80s, the other in her 60s, and both had weakened immune systems, Kirk said. The other two people diagnosed have since recovered, she added.
Hawke's Bay company Bay Cuisine, which supplies the hospital, has voluntarily recalled its salami, pepperoni and ham products, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries.