A GUIDE TO:
A New Land
Traveling to a foreign land can be an adjustment – new sights, new sounds, new foods, new scenery and possibly even a new language. New Zealand’s language can be especially hard to navigate if English is not your native tongue, it can even be tricky if English is your first language. This is because kiwis love slang words – you name it, we have a different way of saying it. Never fear, we’ve got your back with a guide to kiwi slang.
Beginner New Zealand slang
Here are some entry level phrases and words to get you started on your NZ slang journey.
- Chur: An old classic, you may have heard this one before. ‘Chur’ means ‘yes’ and is usually followed by the word ‘bro’ meaning ‘brother’. For example: Person A asks “Can I please borrow your ball” and person B replies, “Chur bro”.
- Togs: Important if you are visiting NZ during the summer. ‘Togs’ translates to ‘swimsuit’ or ‘bathing suit’ or ‘bikini’ or ‘swimming shorts/trunks’. It is a blanket term used for any swimming costume and is unisex. For example: A mother and her two children are about to take a trip to the beach, the mother says, “Go put your togs on kids”.
- Mean: Another oldie but a goodie – and commonly used adjective. ‘Mean’ translates to ‘really good’ or ‘enjoyable’. For example: “I had a really mean burger for lunch”.
- Sweet as: This is a kiwi classic! If someone in New Zealand describes something as ‘sweet as’ it means they are happy for the proposed idea to go ahead or they are happy with an outcome. For example: You ask someone if you can borrow their jacket and they say, “That’s sweet as” they are happy for you to borrow their jacket.
- She’ll be right: This is another classic Kiwi saying meaning everything will be okay, don’t worry about it. For example, if someone was concerned about a rough job a person had done fixing a fence, the person fixing the fence would reply, “she’ll be right”.
Intermediate New Zealand slang
- Crackup: This translates to funny. Used in a sentence a person would say, “oh that joke was crack up”.
- Wop-wops: This translates to the ‘middle of nowhere’. A person would describe a person who lives far away from civilization as, “living out in the wop wops”.
- Niggly: This means annoying or a bit frustrating. If a person was told they were unable to go to a concert anymore due to it being cancelled they would say, “oh that’s niggly”.
- Hard out/hard: Means ‘for sure’ or ‘I agree’. Used in a conversation, person A would say, “Oh the sky is so blue today and person B would reply, “hard” or “hard out”.
- Bit of a dag: This is used to describe a person, meaning a person is a bit cheeky or mischievous, but in a loving way.
Expert New Zealand slang
- Luggage: This is a prime example of NZ slang. If a person exclaims, “Oh that’s luggage” it translates to, “That is a major inconvenience to me”.
- Eebs: Pronounced eabz, this translates to ‘I cannot be bothered’. This word comes from the word ceebs, which also means ‘I cannot be bothered’. If a child is told they have to do their chores before going out they might grunt or exclaim “eebs!” This word is mostly just used by younger people.
- Yeah nah yeah: Means ‘yes’.
- Nah yeah nah: Means ‘no’. Whichever a ‘yeah nah yeah nah’ ends with is the intended answer. If the sentence ends with ‘nah’ the answer is ‘no’ and if it ends with ‘yeah’ the answer is ‘yes.’
- Tu Meke: This is a maori word and translates to ‘too much’. This is usually used when someone tells a funny joke, someone might describe the joke as ‘tu meke’ as in they are laughing ‘too much’ at the joke.
- Sakes: This word is derived from ‘for goodness sake’. This is a lazy way to say you are irritated by something.