New to New Zealand? Know these Kiwi phrases and slang

When someone first asked me, “Do you have a brolly? It’s raining!” I was as clueless as a pirate wearing two eye-patches.

Kiwi slang can be daunting not just for new migrants but seasoned settlers.

Don’t get caught off guard at the next work barbie. (Read on if you are not too sure what a barbie is.)

Familiarize yourself with this Kiwi speak.

Maori Haka, New Zealand slang, Kiwi phrases, New Zealand sayings
Maori haka is a spectacular but daunting dance to watch, and is usually performed at the beginning of an event.


Understanding Kiwi terminology and sayings

Here are some of the most commonly used Kiwi words, sayings and phrases that confuse new migrants the most.

Snowed under: very busy

Anklebiter: A toddler or small child

Bach: A holiday home

Barbie: A barbecue or shortened to BBQ.

Banger: A sausage

Bicky: A biscuit, also called crackers

Bash: A party

Brolly: Umbrella

Cardie: A cardigan. Also called a jumper.

Coconut: A pacific islander (Offensive word)

Chilly Bin: An ice box for keeping beer or food cool. (similar to an esky in Australia)

Across the ditch: In Australia. Also referred to as Down Under

Curry Muncher: An Indian. (Yes that’s what they call all of you from the subcontinent.)

Dole: Unemployment benefit or social welfare payment paid by WINZ (Work and Income New Zealand.)

Dairy: A small shop in the neighbourhood. Also known as the corner store.

Fag: A cigarette. Also used as “Let’s go for a fag”, which refers to smoking.

P: refers to the drug Methamphetamine

Footy: Rugby or football. Also refers to rugby union or rugby league

G’day or gidday: It’s a short form for Good Day.

Mate: friend. It is common to call a stranger a mate.

Aye or eh: Pronounced as letter “a”, Kiwis use this instead of a question mark, to convert a normal sentence into a question. For example, “It’s hot, eh”. Also used in place of ‘what’ if the listener didn’t hear you or doesn’t understand what you are saying.

Heaps: A lot of something. For e.g., my backyard has heaps of firewood.

Hoodie: A jacket with a hood.

Jandals: Thongs, flip-flops

Speedos: swimwear

Kia Ora: Hello in the Maori language.  Propounced as ki-ora.

L&P: New Zealand’s brand of soda. Stands for Lemon and Paeroa

Oi: To get someone’s attention if someone is within sight but not paying attention

Old Lady: Used for wife or girlfriend

Old man: Used for father

On the piss: Gone out for drinking

Piss: Beer

Pissed: 1. Drunk, intoxicated. 2. Angry (He is really pissed at you)

Pom or Pommie: Used for a person from the UK

Tall poppy syndrome: This is a phrase used for commonly observed New Zealand attitude of being modest about one’s achievements.

She’ll be alright: Another trait of New Zealanders who like to get on with life and dealing with problems without whining or complaining.

Tangi: A Maori word which means funeral ceremony. Not to be confused with Hangi which is a traditional Maori way of cooking.

Haka: A Maori dance which you will usually see before the beginning of a rugby match.

Trolley: Shopping cart.

Truckie: A truck driver.

Whanau: Family

(Source: NZ Guide)

Do you know any other slang but confusing words used by New Zealanders? Share them in comments below.


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