Speak like a Kiwi

Dictionary of Kiwi Terms and Expressions

Kia Ora (hello)

Anyone coming to NZ will be challenged with the fast, quiet speech of Kiwis (the people, not the bird) but to help you through your period of adjustment, we’ll provide some of the more used Kiwi-isms – words and expressions.

Cardia cardigan, a button up sweater/
Choicethat’s good
Barbiea barbeque
Blokea man
Crookangry or sick
Cruisyeasy, relaxed
Cuppaa cup of tea
Daga person who is funny; a comedian (of course, its also something that hangs off the back end of a sheep)
Dodgyuntrustworthy, not good
Driza-bonea type of long, heavy raincoat (= as dry as a bone)
Dunnyoutside toilet over a dug hole (outhouse)
Footpatha pavement or sidewalk; as in area where walkers are most likely (but not always) safe from Kiwi drivers
Hardcasea tough but likeable person
Hard yakkahard work, usually physical work
Jandalsrubber sandals (aka flipflops in the US and UK and thongs in AU)
Judder barsspeed bumps on the road
Long dropoutside toilet built over a hole in the ground
Naffnot good, silly
Pav/Pavlovaa very sweet dessert over which both New Zealand and Australia fight for bragging rights
Pissalcohol or to be pissed is drunk (has a different meaning in North America
Relliesrelatives (family)
Shoutpay for someone else as a treat (as “Its your birthday so you have to should tea”)
Snarlers/Snags sausages (also see bangers)
SpagbolSpaghetti Bolognaise, a popular very basic rendition of the Italian pasta dish
Specsspectacles, glasses
Stokedvery pleased
Swan-dri or ‘Swannee’ type of woollen shirt
Sweet asthat’s fine; good
Teaa drink with jam and bread, a break at 10am and 3pm with tea, coffee and/or a like snack, and also refers to dinner
Togsswimsuit, clothes worn when swimming
Wops-wopsa remote area

Sayingwhich means…
Flat outvery busy
Full Ondemanding of attention/action
God smackedvery surprised
No 8 Wiresymbolic expression for the Kiwi attitude of being able to fix or make anything using the simplest methods and materials)
No worriesI’m not worried about it so you don’t have to worry either
Sing outask e.g. Sing out if you want help
She be rightrenowned Kiwi expression> the result will be good even though it is not clear how
Stunned Mulletvery surprised (a mullet is a seabird that sometimes gets tapped by a passing boat and stunned)
Take the pissjoke or fib (see ‘wind someone up’
Telling Porkieslying (not serious ones)
Throw a wobbly/tantyget upset (have a hissy fit’ see above)
Toss your toys get upset
Turn pear shapedgo wrong, experience unexpected problems

Contact Us

Unit 15, 150 -160 Beaumont Street, Auckland 1010. New Zealand

+64 21 711 071 | 0800 891 314

Sign Up