Travel blog

Kiwi Slang phrases Every Traveler to New Zealand Should Know

Posted by YMT Vacations on Feb 2, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Kiwi Phrases  YMT Vacations

New Zealanders—Kiwis for those in the know—are famous for speaking in their own unique dialect. Not convinced? Just listen to any local conversation. Fast and sometimes quite thickly accented, the regional speech is packed with Kiwi slang that often requires a translator.

Popular Kiwi Sayings and Phrases

To get you started, here are a few Kiwi sayings and phrases used in New Zealand. And remember, should your conversation stall or you’re unsure what to talk about, rugby is always a safe place to start!

  • Anklebiter—Small child
  • Aotearoa—The Maori name for New Zealand, meaning “land of the long white cloud”
  • Bach—Holiday home, pronounced “batch”
  • Barbie—Barbecue
  • Bit of a dag—A person with character
  • Blimmin’—A curse word similar to “bloody”
  • Bloke—A man
  • Bob’s your uncle—“There you have it”
  • Bugger—Exclamation when something goes wrong
  • Bugger all—To have nothing left
  • Chocka—Full, overflowing
  • Choice—Awesome, cool, great
  • Chrissy pressies—Christmas presents
  • Chuddy—Chewing gum
  • Chur– Versatile word that can mean awesome, good, cool, sweet, cheers
  • Dairy—Convenience store
  • Dear—Expensive
  • Drongo—Fool
  • Dunny—Toilet
  • Eh?—Don’t you agree? Typically said at the end of a sentence
  • Fizzy drink—A soda or pop
  • Footie—Rugby/Football/Soccer
  • Gidday—Hello or good day
  • Gizza—Give me
  • Good as gold—It’s going great
  • Good on ya, mate!—Well done!
  • Handle—A pint of beer
  • Hard / Hard out—to agree with someone
  • Heaps—Lots or many
  • Hoon—A hooligan
  • Hot chips—French fries
  • Jandals—Flip flops
  • Judder bar—Speed bump
  • Keen—excited about something
  • Kia ora—Be well or be healthy; a general greeting
  • Kiwi—A New Zealander
  • Knackered—Tired or exhausted
  • Mate—Friend
  • Munted—Broken
  • No worries—No problem
  • Pakaru—Broken
  • Plonk—Cheap wine
  • Scarfie—University student
  • Serviette—Napkin
  • She’ll be right—It’s going to be fine
  • Snarler—Sausage
  • Sprog—Child
  • Stubbie—A can of beer, or the very short pants worn by rugby players
  • Sunnies—Sunglasses
  • Sus—suspicious looking
  • Sweet as—Cool; awesome
  • Ta—Thank you
  • Takeaways—Fast food
  • Tea—Dinner
  • Togs—Swimsuit
  • Tomato sauce—Ketchup
  • Torch—Flashlight
  • Tramping—Hiking
  • Tu meke—Great Job
  • Ute—Pick-up Truck
  • Waka—The Maori word for canoe. You’ll also hear a bus referred to as a “land waka”
  • Wobbly—A temper tantrum
  • Wop-wops—The middle of nowhere, off the beaten path
  • Yeah, nah bro—No, thank you
  • Yeah right—Said when you don’t believe someone

Other New Zealand Languages & Popular Sayings

Did you know that New Zealand is a bilingual country? Māori are indigenous Polynesian people and their language—te reo Māori—is recognized officially in New Zealand. Although it is spoken by less than 5% of the population, you may still hear it in conversations during your visit. A few popular words and phrases include:

  • Kia ora—Can mean “Hello,” “Goodbye,” and “Thank you.”
  • Āe—Yes
  • Ehē—No
  • Tāne—Man
  • Wāhine—Woman
  • Kai—Food
  • Mōrena—Good morning
  • Kei te pēhea koe?—How’s it going?
  • Haere mai—Welcome! Hello!
  • Tēnā koe—Greetings to you!
  • Ka pai!—Well done!

Planning Your New Zealand Vacation

Now that you’re up-to-date on Kiwi language, sayings, and slang, you can yack it up with the Kiwis as you tour New Zealand and Australia with YMT Vacations. Experience the Great Barrier Reef, cruise Milford Sound and view the Sydney Opera House.

To make your arrangements, call your travel professional or YMT Vacations at 1-888-756-9072.


Topics: Travel Tips, Senior Travel, Australia & New Zealand