It might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the more common New Zealand slang words before making a trip down under.
After all, you don’t want to appear gormless. Especially not if you are seeing New Zealand with your kids. Not knowing your stuff would be unforgivable.
And that’s always a good place to be.
And just to be clear – the North Island and the South island are not joined together.
Ok then; let’s go.
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My family and I moved to New Zealand ten years ago and we are still coming to grips with some of the slang words that are casually thrown about.
I won’t lie.
The Kiwis don’t mind letting you know when you’ve stuffed up and made a complete New Zealand muppet of your self.
It’s one of the many down to earth New Zealand traits that you will grow to love.
But, fear not New Zealand lovers, I am here to help you.
By the end of this post, you will be able to visit one of the world’s most underrated travel destinations and know your muppets from your munters and your chockas from your churs.
If you are hoping to make a move to New Zealand and would like to know first hand what it is like to live here then listen to our New Zealand Travel PODCAST where my teenage son and I talk about living in New Zealand and what it is really like. (Or you can hear the interview I had with Adam, an English guy who is currently working his way around New Zealand on a working holiday visa)
40 New Zealand Slang Words That’ll Have You Sounding Like A True Kiwi
1: Chur – “Fancy a cup of tea?” “Chur bro!”
This is a bit of a grey area word. Basically can mean, yes, cool, thanks, ok. I’m happy with what you say.
2: – Saussie “What’s for tea dad?” “Saussies!”
Sausages or hot dogs is a common kiwi standby on a summer BBQ. It’s never referred to as a sausage. Always Saussie.
3: Shark’n’ taters- “Who wants to get shark ‘n’ taters for tea?”
I like this one. It means fish and chips. Actually no. Fush and Chups if we are going to be truly New Zealand.
4: Yeah Nah – “Did you want to get a beer?” “Yeah, Nah”
Confusing this one – so be careful! This is the New Zealand slang saying that translates as meaning no; don’t be tricked by the yeah that part, it means they’ve thought about it but ultimately the answer is no.
5: Eh? – “Windy today eh?”
Eh is used all of the time in New Zealand. I suppose it means ‘agree with me’ but to be honest just say it after everything you say and you’ll fit in nicely.
6: Cuz – “Wanna go bowling Cuz?”
Cuz is an affectionate term that refers to a friend. Very rarely an actual cousin. If someone refers to you as cuz then you know that they like you.
7: Bro – “Want to go to help me plant these trees, bro?”
Similar to Cuz, although in the last ten years I have noticed that the term Bro seems is used more and more. A bit like saying ‘hey dude’, or ‘hey mate.’
8: Wop-wops – “He’s bought a house out in the wop-wops”
She is now living in the middle of nowhere. Think no neighbours or shops. Or people. Wop wops.
(As a side note: My husband and I recently went on a glamping experience out in the wop wops and it was terrific! dark, dark skies with only the sound of the owls for company – just bliss!)
9: Piece of piss – “building that shed was a piece of piss”
The kiwis like the word piss. They use it a lot. In this sense, it means that building the shed was easy. Not a challenge.
10: Piss up – “Let’s have a piss up!”
Let’s get drunk!
11: Case/bottle of piss – “Pick up a case of piss from the store”
Bring some beers to the party.
12: Taking the piss – “Can you drive me to the wop – wops?” “Oh mate! You’re taking the piss.”
Staying with the piss theme… This one means you’re joking, aren’t you? Used when someone is seen to be taking advantage.
13: Bugger – “Bugger! My car won’t start!”
Bugger is another light-hearted swear word that all and sundry (including the kids) seem to use in New Zealand; not meant to offend though, more of a mild cuss – but never the less, it was one of the things that took me by surprise within my first year of moving to New Zealand.
14: Munted – “I’ve had a crash and now my car is munted!”
Munted is another word for broken. It can also be used to refer to someone who has had too much to drink.
15: She’ll be alright – “Those tyres look low” “Nah. She’ll be alright”
The kiwis use this term when they believe something will turn out well in the end.
16: Stink – “Is she coming to the party?” “No” “Aw, stink”
Used when someone is disappointed about something
17: Keen – “Do you want to come for a drive Cuz?” “Keen!”
Keen is used to show your willingness to do something.
18: Mare – “Pulling up those weeds was a mare of a job”
Referring to when something isn’t easy.
19: Gumboots – “Put your gumboots on it’s muddy!”
In the Uk, they are known as wellies. Wellington boots, rubber boots meant for wet and muddy weather.
20: Jandals – Put your jandals on!
Flip flops, sandals, those summer shoes with the thing between your toes. Also a popular present to buy teenagers at time Christmas in New Zealand (it’s summer remember!)
21: As – “That sand is as hot as!”
The kiwis will never finish telling you what the sand is as hot as. It’s just as hot as something. Anything. Hungry as, thirsty as, hot as…you get the idea.
22: Choice – “I got some free tickets for the game” “Aw! Choice bro!”
Choice is the kiwi’s way of saying something is cool, awesome, fabulous, brilliant.
23: Egg – “You’re such an egg!”
Affectionate term to mean you’re a bit of an idiot! (in the nicest possible way you understand.)
24: Sweet – “Do you need to stop for a sandwich?” “Nah. I’m sweet”
Sweet means that it’s alright. All good (although kiwis will usually put an ‘as’ on the end of it just to be kiwi and confuse you!).
25: Yeah right – “It’s going to rain all summer” “Yeah right”.
Yeah right is when someone doesn’t believe what you are saying.
26: Heaps – She brought heaps of burgers for the BBQ
Heaps. You’ll hear it a lot in New Zealand and is a slang word for a lot. A great many.
27: Togs – “If you are going to the beach don’t forget your togs!”
Togs. bathing costume, trunks.Any attire that you can swim in.
28: Longdrop – “Close the door to the long-drop!”
A long-drop is an outside toilet usually found in remote parts of the country where there is no flushing system. Lots od DOC campsite sites have them or if you are unlucky – a friend who lives out in the wop-wops.
29: All goods – “I forget to bring the money that I owed you!” “We’re all goods, Bro”
It used to be all good, meaning what it says; everything is ok, I’m good with that, but it seems that the kiwis have now changed this so that they now say all goods. At least this is what my teenage boy and his friends say.
Next, You Could Read…
30: Mean – “Oh man, your dad’s car is mean as”
Remember what I told you about the ‘as’ part? Mean as simply means that it is cool. It is something awesome. The as part? I told you, I’m still trying to work it out.
31: Crack-up – “Mate! Your dad just told me off for eating too many saussies!” “Aw! That’s a crack-up!”
Meaning that is funny. I bet it was a good laugh to witness.
32: Straight up – “I didn’t even put my name on the exam paper” “Straight up?”
Straight up meaning honestly? You’re telling the truth? You’re not kidding?
32: Hiding – “Your brother will give you a hiding if he finds you’ve eaten all his saussies”
Not what you want to hear. Means you are going to get beaten up or punched.
33: Howzit? – “Howzit mate?”
A kiwi slang word for hi! How are you? Know that the person asking is not necessarily waiting for your answer, it’s simply a greeting.
34: Crook – “I’m not going to work today, I feel crook”
Meaning that you don’t feel well.
35: Chocka – “Do you have room for another one in your car?” ” Nah, bro. It’s pretty chocka”
Meaning that something (or someone) is full up – I can’t eat any more saussies I’m chocka.
36: Shifted – “I heard she’s shifted out to Auckland”
The kiwi slang word for moving house.
37: Muppet – “Oh mate! You’re a muppet for thinking she’d go out with you!”
The polite way of saying you’re an idiot!
38: Ratbag – “Oh, she’s being a real ratbag”
Usually, referring to children who are behaving like brats (although I still use it on my daughter and she’s 15)
39: Grotty – “That BBQ is grotty! I’m not eating off it”
Another word for dirty or gross.
40: Good as gold – “Do you mind if I give you that money next week?” “Good as gold mate”
This is another kiwi slang word that gets used in New Zealand a lot. Probably because the kiwis are so easy going.
If You Like This Post on New Zealand Slang Words You Will Love Our Living in New Zealand (the pros & cons) Podcast!
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So there you go! Follow these language steps and you’ll be all goods for your next trip to New Zealand!
If you know of any other New Zealand slang words that you would like me to add then message me below in the comments!