Beginner’s guide to speaking Kiwi:
Written by a kiwi for those wanting to learn kiwi language:
Travelling to a new country can be a daunting experience, especially when you don’t understand the local language. New Zealander’s relaxed attitude is reflected in their speech – a slow, relaxed drawl with flavour adders that represent local culture.
South Island: vowels are broadened and ‘R’s are rolled. Find a South Islander and ask them to say “dirty purple work shirts”.
North Island: vowels narrow progressively as you move further North and little flavour adders such as “bro, aye and eh” increase.
In general, there isn’t a huge difference in dialect between regions. Find a kiwi and ask them to say “fish and chips”. Below is a list of local lingo to help on your travels!
Bach – holiday home.
Barbie – shortened term for barbecue, a cooking grill the heats food from below.
Bloke – male.
Bogan – derogatory term for someone from an unsophisticated background.
Buggar – expression of anger and/or frustration.
Chick – female.
Chur – a term used to express agreement.
Crack up – funny.
Crack up as – very funny.
Cuzzie or cuz – friend or family member or newly met person that has been handed friend status.
Dairy – convenience or corner store.
Dunny – toilet.
Eh? – pardon.
Hard bro – agreement.
Hard case – funny, good humour.
Hard out – agreement.
Heaps – many or lots.
Hottie – attractive person.
Jandals – thongs or sandels.
Keen as – interested, excited.
Kia ora – hello.
Knackered – tired.
Long drop – toilet built into the ground and depending on factors such as when it was built and last cleaned, has a long drop before it reaches the waste pile.
Mate – friend.
Mean – used to positively describe something; Q. How was your dinner? A. Yeah, it was mean as.
Munted – damaged or destroyed, often used to describe Christchurch after the Christchurch Earthquake.
No worries – alright, fine.
Pakaru – broken.
Piss up or get on the piss – drink.
Sick – awesome, fantastic.
Shattered – tired.
She’ll be right – it will be okay.
Skint – poor, broke.
Sup bro’ – hello.
Sweet as – okay.
Sticks – middle of nowhere.
Ta – thank you.
Togs – swim wear, trunks, bikini.
Tu meke – good job, impressed, respect.
Westie – West Aucklander.
Wops – middle of nowhere.
You’re all good – it’s okay, thank you.