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How to speak kiwi: common New Zealand slang

‘Yea nah, she’ll be right bro. I’m knackered as, gonna get a mean feed.’

‘Yea sweet as, choice cuz.’

If that sentence confused you and you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, have a read of these common Kiwi words and phrases and you’ll find understanding the locals a lot easier when you arrive!

Popular kiwi words

  • Kiwi: New Zealanders, also a native bird
  • Chilly bin: Cooler/esky
  • Wop wop’s: The middle of nowhere/the sticks
  • Togs: Swimsuit
  • Jandals: Flip flops/thongs
  • Buggered/knackered: Really tired
  • Jumper: Sweater/pull over
  • Bach/crib: Holiday home
  • Bro: Brother, friend
  • Chur: Thanks
  • Hokey-pokey: Ice cream flavour (definitely try this while in New Zealand)
  • Stubbie: Bottle of beer
  • Stubbies: Shorts (short shorts)
  • Tramping: Hiking
  • Mate: Friend or enemy (depending on the speakers tone)


Popular Kiwi phrases

  • All good: That’s ok, never mind
  • Sweet as: Great, good, fine
  • Choice as: That’s great, awesome, sure
  • Yeah nah: This has a large variety of meanings, the most common one’s being: an acknowledgment that you have spoken, but disagree with what you said; a space filler within a sentence
  • Most common use example:      
    “Nick thought the show was rubbish, didn’t you Nick?”
    “Yea, nah”
  • Bring a plate: Bring a shared dish of food to a party/gathering (if you get asked to ‘bring a plate’ do not just bring an empty plate, you will be judged harshly)
  • She’ll be right: It will be fine, everything is ok, don’t worry about it
  • No worries: You’re welcome, no problem
  • You right?: Are you ok? Is everything ok?


Common Maori phrases you will hear

  • Kia Ora (key-or-a): Hello
  • Haere Mai (high-reh-my) – welcome.
  • Haere Ra (high-reh-rah) – goodbye
  • Whanau (far-no): Family
  • Ka kite ano: See you later (commonly used by news anchors)
  • Mana: Respect
  • Kai: Food
  • Ka pai: Good work

Categories: Essential Info