new Zealand Classic Kiwi slang
While you might speak English there are plenty of kiwi slang terms to get used to. Here is a selection of kiwi expressions that are in common use…
(pronounced ‘batch’) – a summer house or holiday home. Lots of Kiwis have one and they are popular in beach resorts. They tend to be basic accommodation.
Back in the day
An undetermined amount of time in the past.
Used to describe something that is really good. Simple as.
Ah, an absolute Kiwi staple. Bro is short for brother and is used to describe your best mates (as well as your brother). Probably one of the most used Kiwi slang terms and one of our favourites.
Rather like the Americans, kiwis use the word ‘chips’ to describe what the Brits call ‘crisps’. To add to the confusion, we also use the term ‘chips’ or ‘hot chips’ to describe fries.
Full to the top.
This is one of our favourites, it’s used if you’re not feeling too well.
Another Kiwi favourite. Cuz or cuzzie is short for cousin and is used in an equivalent way to bro or as an alternative.
This is a traditional corner shop and sells everyday essentials including milk, newspapers, and those all-essential Lotto tickets!
This is short for Electronic Fund Transaction Point of Sale and is the way Kiwis pay for everything. Used to describe both the cash machine and the card swipe in dairies, restaurants, shops – everywhere really.
Probably the most used of all Kiwi slang terms. If you spend any serious amount of time here, it won’t be long before this becomes part of your daily vocab. Used to confirm that something you are saying is true, without really asking a question. It’s pronounced ‘ayy’
This is not really slang but it is a good one to know. A feijoa is a fruit that is native to New Zealand and doesn’t seem to be found anywhere else.
This is an interjection that can mean ‘wow’ or ‘awesome’ and can be used in both a positive and negative light.
Good as gold
Don’t know how we missed this the first time around as it’s such an endearing term. Good as gold basically means you are happy with what someone has just said or told you.
To leave or exit the situation, sometimes very quickly.
Someone who has a big personality, may do unusual things but basically is a real laugh.
Used to describe ‘lots’ of something. It’s a very well used Kiwi term.
We’re still not sure if this means yes or no! If you want to be super vague about something, this is the perfect way to answer.
Used to describe a lengthy period of time.
You’re such an egg
This basically means you are a bit of a clown or a joker
Surely one of the best things about New Zealand. Hokey pokey is a flavour that is like honeycomb. It can be ice cream, a chocolate bar, or other lollies. It is delicious, so make sure you remember this one!
Perhaps one of the most confusing things for visitors is the way we describe our potato-based snacks. Hot chips literally refer to hot cooked chips. Most foreigners (especially the Brits) get super confused and wonder why we need to call them ‘hot’ chips!
Whether you call them flip flops or thongs this summer footwear favourite is called a jandal in NZ. They are one step up from going bare foot (which Kiwis do a lot!) and often look pretty battered!
Whilst many countries use the word ‘lolly’ to describe a sweet that’s on a stick, kiwis use it as a generic term to describe all sweets!
This one has two meanings which equate to the same thing! Used to describe something that’s broken (pretty much beyond repair) or used to describe someone who is really drunk (pretty much beyond repair!).
“Next” minute – used to create suspense when telling a great story.
Like sweet as, no worries is the best way to describe Kiwis in general – they’ve got no worries! Kiwis are super laid back so you will hear this one a lot!
Literally short for Overseas Experience. Most Kiwis will take an OE when they graduate from Uni or before they get their first job. It usually involves a 6 month to a year trip to Europe usually starting off in the UK.
Pack a sad
To get upset and sulk
If you’re heading out on a big tramp, you might want to pack yourself a bag of scroggin – a mix of nuts and fruit, often called trail mix in other countries.
This one is a favourite of the university crowd and means to down your drink. If someone yells it at you, it’s best just to do it!
She’ll be right
When something is not working perfectly but it will be all good in the end.
Super happy about something.
Another word for sausage. A barbecue is a standard way of socialising in New Zealand, so this is definitely one of the most popular kiwi slang terms of the summer.
Used to describe something that is awesome but also used when there’s no problem. This one is a Kiwi classic.
This one is a confusing one for overseas visitors. A tiki tour is a small organised tour where you will see a lot of things in a day. Alternatively, if you head the long way to a place or someone’s house, you might get called out for taking a tiki tour.
Whilst some people may use the term to describe homeless people, it has a completely different meaning here in NZ and refers to going out for a long walk or hike.
Used to describe someone who comes from West Auckland.
This is a term used to describe the middle of nowhere. New Zealand has some remote towns and villages, so this is used a lot.