Kia ora – Hello

You will quickly learn that New Zealanders are referred to as Kiwis – not the fruit but more after our native bird. You will think we sound funny but wait till you hear what words we use.

Here is a quick guide that will help you during your visit to New Zealand – Aotearoa.


Awesome – great, wonderful

Bach – holiday home

Beaut – excellent

Bloke – male person

Bogan – an unrefined or uncouth person

Bro – Brother/friend

Buzzy Bee – popular toy in New Zealand that resembles a bee with rotating wings that moves and makes a clicking noise while the toy is pulled along

Cheers – to celebrate and clink glasses to wish for good fortune and often used instead of “thanks’

Choice – positive, good, impressive. ‘That is choice bro’

Cuz – short for cousin or person close to you

Dag – someone who is funny

Dairy – corner/convenience store

Fella – male person

Good as gold – thanking someone for something

Gumboots – rubber boots built for wet weather

Haka – Maori war dance, more famously known through NZ sports team(s)

Hard Case – someone who is unique, can be both positive and negative

Heaps – a lot/lots – to have a copious amount of

Hongi – a traditional Maori greeting in which people press their noses together

IceBlock – a frozen treat on a stick

Jandals – flip flops/ thongs

Jumper – sweater/jersey

Ka Kite Ano – I will see you again, see you later

Kean/Kean as – in a positive response in wanting to do something

Kiwi – a person from New Zealand, native flightless bird or a fruit!

Lamington – vanilla sponge squares, dipped in chocolate and then rolled in coconut, served with whipped cream

Mate – a term used for a friend or when you cannot remember their name.

Mint – great condition

Munted – broken/not working/damaged

Nah – no not really

No worries – it’s ok/ no problem

Olds – parents

Pavlova -meringue, smothered in whipped cream and fresh fruit

Pharlap – famous horse born in New Zealand in the 1920’s

Plonker – someone silly

Powhiri – a welcoming ceremony involving speeches, dancing, singing and finally the hongi

Puku – tummy/belly/stomach

Redbrand – a kiwi icon- traditionally gumboots or jandals

Sheila – girls

She’ll be right – it will be OK/not a problem

Shocker – terrible, not good

Snags – sausages

Swanndri – a New Zealand trade name, popular for its original long heavy bush shirt

Sweet as – cool or awesome- also can be used as ‘it’s ok’ or ‘not a problem’

Ta – thank you

Taniwha – Maori legendary creatures

Tiki – carved figure, image, a neck ornament usually made of greenstone and carved in an abstract from human

Tiki tour – roundabout way to get somewhere; scenic route

Togs – swimsuit

Tomato Sauce – ketchup

Ute – utility vehicle, with a tray at the back of the car to carry work items

Vegemite – a food spread made from yeast that Kiwis and Aussies love

Waka – traditional Maori canoe

Wop wops – out of town in the country

Yep – yes

Yeah nah – Yes I  am hearing what you are saying, but the answer is no

ZED – the way Kiwis pronounce the last letter of the alphabet

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