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Talk Like a New Zealander: Talk Like a Kiwi

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How to Talk Like a New Zealander

Once you leave the tourist accommodations, chances are you will bump into a Kiwi – not the bird but a person from New Zealand. See, confusing already, eh? Use our guide to help you through the territory of Kiwi lingo and slang. By the end of your gap year or a working holiday in New Zealand, the words like slipping on your “jandals”, popping to the “dairy”, and buying some beer for the “chilly bin” will slip out of your mouth from time to time. Yet, it will completely make sense!

Step it up a notch by learning some basic te reo Maori, so you can pronounce all those Maori place names in New Zealand.

For more things out of New Zealand, check out the 16 Products of New Zealand and What is Kiwiana?

Kiwi

“Kiwi” is a person from New Zealand. Many Kiwis refer to themselves as Kiwis so it is popular belief that they do not take offence if called a “Kiwi”. Kiwi is also a native bird of New Zealand and is not to be mistaken as the word for “kiwifruit”. Speaking of kiwifruit, did you know that a popular backpacker job is kiwifruit picking?

Eh?

Pronounced ay, eh is added to the end of a statement for a reply of confirmation or at the end of a rhetorical question. Basically, it is stuck on the end of some sentences unnecessarily and Kiwis are just really fond of saying eh? Be warned, it is a contagious New Zealand colloquialism, and chances are you will find yourself saying it.

Sweet As

Sweet as what? Nope, just sweet as meaning cool, awesome, I am delighted with what you are proposing. It is often combined with the word

Bro

Bro is short for brother from another mother.

Kia Ora

Pronounced key-or-a, Kia Ora is a Maori word meaning good health but used as a greeting.

Maori

Referring to the aboriginal New Zealanders and their language.

Aotearoa

The Maori word for New Zealand.

Jandals

Flip-flops. Japanese sandals = jandals.

Tramping

Hiking

Togs

Swimwear

Wop-wops

There are many wop-wops in New Zealand, meaning a place far from other civilisation. Wop-wop is a funny word… Anyway…

Tiki Tour

Taking the scenic route.

Knackered

Not just tired, but really tired.

Hangi

Cooking in an underground oven, which is a Maori tradition and makes food taste incredible. Expect to taste this with a Maori cultural experience.

Haka

An awesome war dance performed by the Maori and used by national sports teams.

All Blacks

New Zealand’s national rugby team.

Gawk

Stare

She’ll Be Right

We don’t know who she is, but it means “it will be Ok”.

No Worries

Not a problem.

Chur bro

Kind of like Cheers, bro or Thanks, bro.

Chilly bin

A chilly bin is a cool box to you and me. Although the word bin is uttered, do not mistake a chilly bin as something to put rubbish/trash in. What is usually contained in a chilly bin is very precious.

Dairy

This is another word for a convenience store. “I’m going to the dairy, do you want anything, bro?”

If You Liked This Article…

… Maybe you’ll like some New Zealand in Numbers or 10 Things You Did Not Know About New Zealand?

Sources:

The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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