How to master Kiwi slang
Living and studying in New Zealand is mean as. The skux experiences you get to have while discovering culture, city and people of this young country are well worth it.
However, coming to this corner of the world comes with its own quirky challenges – like understanding the Kiwi lingo! Not to fret though, we have rounded up some of the most commonly used terms you need to know.
Common Māori language
Since the Māori culture shapes New Zealand’s daily life in many ways, the indigenous language (Te Reo Māori) has become a part of the local lingo. Some of the words you’ll hear around quite often are:
- Kia ora = hello.
- Haere mai = welcome.
- Haera ra -= goodbye.
- Kai = food.
- Whanau = family.
- Mana = respect.
- Ka pai = good work .
In a more formal setting, such as official events, it’s likely that instead of kia ora, you’ll here ‘kia ora tātou’ or ‘tēnā koutou’ which means hello everyone and greetings to you all.
Understanding Kiwi slang
So now you know some of the basic indigenous terms, it’s time to pay attention to the modern Kiwi phrases you are sure to hear and be bewildered by the first time you encounter them:
- Heaps = a lot.
- No worries = no problem.
- Skux = great, awesome.
- Chur = yes, thanks.
- Togs = swimsuit.
- Jandals = flip flops.
- Dairy = superette or corner store.
- She’ll be right mate = it’ll be okay.
- Bro/Mate = friend – this can also be said to women.
- Ta = thank you.
- Bach = beach or holiday house.
- Knackered = tired or exhausted.
- Wop-wops = the middle of nowhere.
- Pack a sad – get sad or upset.
While most Kiwi slang is straightforward, some terms need a slightly more comprehensive explanation.
One of the most prominent sayings which can confuse those new to New Zealand is “sweet as”. This doesn’t refer to your bottom in any way. Instead, Kiwis like to use sweet as when something is good or they agree with you. For example, if you’re making plans to meet with friends it could go something like this: “How about we meet at Britomart around 12 tomorrow and go from there?” “Sweet as, see you there!”.
The word ‘as’ is also used to emphasise the meaning of a word in general. Rather than telling you a piece of work was difficult, you might hear “Bro, the project was hard as”. At the same time though, if a friend tells you “You’re a mean as chick!”, they think you are awesome, not mean in the traditional sense.
Another common quirk is to add “eh” at the end of a question: “The weather is pretty sweet today, eh?”.
Now that you’ve learned the slang, why not learn something else that’s new? From business to hospitality, at AIS we can help you have the best studying experience!