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
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!”
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!”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
The New Zealand way of saying ‘a lot’ or ‘lots’.
Example: “How many tries did we score last night against Tonga?” “Aw, heaps bro!”
A traditional Maōri 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!”
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!”
Literally translated from Maōri 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?”
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.”
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!”
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!”