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STA Travel Blog

How to talk like a New Zealander

This ‘educational’ blog comes from STA Travel’s James Greenslade, who has left his Oz homeland for a few months to explore the UK. He claims that, even though he’s Australian, he’s learnt a lot of Kiwi slang “by osmosis”. Take it with a pinch of salt.

Considered by many as one of the coolest accents in the world, members of the kiwi-nation don’t just sound like a dream, they also have some classic slang.

But there’s no point visiting the land of the Kiwis if you can’t understand a word that’s being said! Read on for our simple guide on how to speak like a New Zealander.

 Take yourself on a Tiki Tour around NZ slang

How to talk like a New Zealander

Choice

A personal favourite of mine. Translates most simply to ‘good’, though can be used to convey more excitable emotions as well.

Example: “Fancy a couple of drinks tonight?” “Aw, that would be choice, bro!”

Beached as

Spurred on in popularity from a much-loved cartoon series in the late noughties, beached as is a term commonly used to describe a whale parched on a beach. It can however be substituted to other sea life, or even human life as well.

Example: Oh no, I’m beached bro. I’m beached as”. “You’re soooo beached!”

 Sweet as

Very common in New Zealand, it’s a fun and simple one. It simply means ‘good’ or ‘brilliant’. A kiwi-favourite.

Example: “Hey bro, want to go out for some rugby?” “Sweet as! Good suggestion”

yeah nah bro

Basically means yes. The ‘nah’ doesn’t really have any meaning. No idea why.

Example: “How was last night, bro?” “Yeah nah bro it was good

suss

Two meanings in New Zealand. Firstly used to express a degree of concern about something or someone. Secondly used to say that you’ve solved an issue or worked something out – just as in the UK. Apparently.

Example: “That burger last night seemed a bit suss”

Example: “Yeah bro, I sussed it out. Took a while, though I got there in the end”

JANDALS

We infamously call them thongs in Australia, though our Tasman cousins call them Jandals. Highly visible within New Zealand’s finest fashion districts, they’d go well with the national costume (if they had one). Worn all-year round as well.

Example: “How’s the weather looking today?” “12°c” “Jandals it is!”

Across the ditch

Commonly used to describe the geographical distance between New Zealand and Australia, or any New Zealander heading over to Australia.

Example: “I’m heading across the ditch for a quick break”

Kiwi-history

Used to express a momentous occasion in the history of New Zealand, particularly following sporting success.

Example: “Our football team went undefeated in the South African World Cup, it was nothing short of kiwi-history!”

Aw sweet bro

Used to express delight or satisfaction in something.

Example: “We’re heading to the rugby tonight, you up for it?” “Aw, sweet bro, I’ll be there”

heaps as

The New Zealand way of saying ‘a lot’ or ‘lots’.

Example: “How many tries did we score last night against Tonga?” “Aw, heaps as bro!”

HANGI

A traditional Maori meal cooked over the course of the day in pits in the earth, resulting in a very fresh, moist and tasty style of food.

Example: “Forget those pretenders on Masterchef, it’s all about Hangi”

Courtesy of Sarahon Flickr

Fush und chups

Pronounced in New Zealand as ‘fush und chups’, fish and chips is the official unofficial dish of New Zealand. A nation surrounded by water, it’s no surprise how much it’s loved by the locals.

Example: “What’s for dinner, Mum and Dad?” “Fush and Chups!”

Chilly bin

Essential item for the warmer months on New Zealand’s calendar. Seen lurking around the backyards of countless summer parties, they keep the beer nice and cool. Doubles up as a comfortable seat as well.

Example: “Hey bro, where should I put the drinks?” “Chilly bin of course, bro!”

kia ora

Literally translated from Maori to English, it means be well / be healthy. More commonly though, its meaning in present-day New Zealand is a casual way of saying hi.

Example: “Kia Ora bro, how are you?”

TIKI TOUR

A roundabout way to get somewhere. In other words, taking the scenic route.

Example: “Our relatives came over for the weekend so we took them on a Tiki tour to show them all of the sights”

Bach

A holiday home at the beach. Usually small and a bit shabby, though it’s likely no one will mind you traipsing some sand inside.  Pronounced batch.

Example: “Hey bro, what are you up to this long weekend?” “Heading up to the Bach of course!”

stubbies

Very short brown shorts. Usually worn by males and not leaving much to the imagination. They were big in the 80s, but some still enjoy donning a pair and standing around the BBQ with a beer in hand. Another one to add to a potential national costume.

Example: “Shorts are for boys, stubbies on the other hand are for men!”

Feeling linguistically confident? Check out some cheap flights to New Zealand, or take a Tiki Tour with a Round the World! James’ advice a bit suss? Let us know in the comments below.
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