Understanding New Zealand’s Kiwi Language

Understanding New Zealand’s Kiwi Language

Written by Kimberly

When you think about language, everyone has words or phrases that have a particular meaning. How you use a word or phrase in one area may mean something different in another. Here in New Zealand, we speak English and a whole lot of Kiwi slang. So, we have put together a guide to keep you on track when you rent a campervan in New Zealand.

Common Kiwi Words

In your travels you may hear some words that you have not heard before. So, to familiarise you with some more common Kiwi slang and their meaning:

  • Jandals means wear your flip-flops.
  • You can use chur to say thank you.
  • Stubbies is a pair of shorts, but do not confuse it with a stubbie or a bottle of beer.
  • Jumper is a pullover or sweater.
  • Bro has two meanings, brother or friend.
  • Mate also has two meanings but depending on the use and tone it can mean friend or enemy.
  • Wop wop’s tells someone that you or it is in the middle of nowhere or you are out in the sticks.
  • Hokey-pokey is an ice cream flavour in New Zealand.
  • If you are really tired, you may hear either buggered or knackered.
  • Your New Zealand friend may ask you to go tramping. This means you are going hiking.
  • You can tell a person you are having a difficult time by using the word mare.

Common Kiwi Phrases

As you travel and rent a campervan in New Zealand, you may be confused by some kiwi phrases or slang. When you hear it, you may have a completely different interpretation of the saying. The following list is some common sayings to help you:

  • When someone asks you to “bring a plate”, they are asking you to bring a food dish to share at an event or party.
  • If you hear “you right?”, the person is asking if you are okay.
  • During a conversation you may hear “Yeah nah”, this tells the other person you heard them but you do not agree with what was said.
  • You can use “all good” when you tell someone never mind or that’s okay.
  • If you want to tell someone you are welcome, you would say “no worries”.
  • You may hear the saying “pack a sad”. This means someone is having a tantrum.

Renting a campervan in New Zealand will help you discover a whole new world. But, you may want to brush up on the more common Kiwi slang words and sayings before travelling. If you know the more common ones, you reduce the possibility of a misunderstanding.