When I was deciding on what country I should go to – New Zealand made the shortlist right away because it’s an English-speaking country.  After all, I just figured it would make finding work a lot easier if I spoke the language.  Anyway, below are interesting  phrases/words/expressions that I’m learning from the Kiwis.

across the ditch: across the Tasman Sea (essentially Australia)

Aotearoa: New Zealand

arvo: afternoon

bach: holiday home

blah is blah: I’ll have to get back to you on this one as I’ve heard it but think its strange…

bogan: redneck.  Various looks but defined by sleeves being cut off tops, mullets with rat-tails, and no shoes.

bottle shop: liquor store

bro: putting it in here as it’s always used.

Canadian Tuxedo: not a kiwi term but an American taught it to me in Auckland!  It’s supposedly the “Canadian” uniform of jeans and a jean shirt.

cheers: thanks

choice: excellent

courgette: zucchini

dub, dub, dub: www (yah)


fortnightly: bi-weekly.

heaps: means the same thing but used so much that it needed to be mentioned.

hockey pokey: NZ’s ice cream flavour.  Its basically vanilla with honeycomb

hotdog: corndog.  If you want a regular hotdog then you’ll have to order an American hotdog.

IRD Number: same thing as the Canadian SIN card

JAFA: what the rest of New Zealand call people living in Auckland.  It stands for just another fucking Aucklander.

jandals: flip-flops

kia ora: hi in Maori

kiwi: person from New Zealand.  If you’re talking about the fruit its kiwi fruit and the bird then its kiwi bird.

lippy: lipstick

lollies: candies

Maccas: McDonalds

mozzies: mosquitoes

OE: exact translation is overseas experience but essentially a working holiday

pashing: kissing

petrol: gas

sav: sauvignon blanc

skull: chug

sneans: wearing sneakers (running/gym shoes) with jeans as American tourists love to do.  I’ve been warned that New Zealanders will point and laugh and is a big don’t.

sweet as: great, cool.

ta: thanks

tiki tour: scenic tour

togs: speedos, swim-wear

tramping: hiking

uni: university

walk: hike


A lot of the slang on this side of the word is the same as NZ but there are some additional things that I picked up along the way:

ice block: popsicle

joey: baby kangaroo

kia orana: Hello in Cook Islands Maori.  Please note that Maori in Cook Islands is different from New Zealand Maori.

paw paw: Papaya in the Cook Islands.

sheila: woman (Australia)

swag: used to sleep outside

Tassie: Tasmania

thongs: flip-flops in Australia


8 thoughts on “KIWI ENGLISH

  1. EFTPOS is more using your debit card at a shop, too. I love coming here to feel nostalgic.

    • leftturnahead

      Haha – I still use the term EFTPOS, lasercard, and debit card interchangeably. Pretty sure that sometimes people must think I’m crazy 🙂

  2. I’ve got to tell you, almost all of those are Australian…
    And I didn’t see “chilly bin” in there anywhere… that’s what those weirdo Kiwis call an Esky.
    (You know, that cold box thing you put your drinks in at BBQs… I mean outdoor food gatherings… I mean…)

    • You’re totally correct about the slang and “chilly bin” reference! I was a little slack at times with this section of my blog as access to internet became an issue when I was in some small town. Thanks for the addition though – truly appreciate it!

      • That’s alright… I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps you should do an Australian english one too.
        Also, thanks for the Irish slang. I’m thinking about heading there soon.

      • Thank you Erin. Just a word to the wise, think of my Irish slang section as stuff from Ireland and all that is adjacent to it as I’m sure phrases from other countries will get mixed in depending on the people I meet here.

  3. Ha ha! We encountered many of the same language challenges while we were in New Zealand, although from what I understand a number of them originated in Australia. Good job working out the translations 🙂

  4. Bogans are goodas, mate. 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Nocci Go Lightly

I said never. Never has arrived.

Chris on Tour

Travel on a Budget

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.


A little of what's in my head, in blog form.

Juli Townsend's Transition to Home

Moving back to Australia after ten years living overseas

Lovely Shoots

Lovely photographs of the world

The Open Suitcase

Vacation is a State of Mind


For You.


Traveling, Teaching, and Thinking


Morocco, art, & the open road

Bucket List Publications

Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences

Global From Home

Exploring the world within a 30 mile radius

Coast Guard Couple

Tiffany and Greg Around the World

Travel Monkey

The Adventures of Kongo

%d bloggers like this: