Useful Phrases for New Zealand

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Useful Phrases for New Zealand 

The Kiwis have developed their own particular brand of slang using phrases from Australia and the UK. These ‘Kiwi-isms’ are unique and knowing a few of them can help you blend in with the locals. If you want to really fit in, just talk about rugby.

If you’re not sure whether someone is from Australia or New Zealand, call them antipodean. That’s if you want to sit on the fence. If you don’t want to sit of the fence then guess Australian - they have the bigger population, so chances are in your favour. However, Kiwis get annoyed if you say they’re Australian. Up to you...

Below are a few useful phrases for New Zealand to get you started:


Anklebiter - Toddler, small child
Aotearoa - Maori name for New Zealand meaning ‘land of the long white cloud’
Arvo - Afternoon


Bach - Holiday home
Banger - Sausage, as in bangers and mash
Barbie - Barbecue
Bit of a dag - Hard case, comedian, person with character
Bitser - Mongrel dog
Bring a plate - Means bring a dish of food to share


Cardi - Cardigan
Cast - Immobilised, unable to get to your feet
Chocka - Full, overflowing
Chrissy pressies - Christmas presents
Chuddy - Chewing gum
Chunder - Vomit, throw up
Cuz - Cousin, family


Ding - Small dent in a vehicle
Down the gurgler - Failed plan
Drongo - Stupid, fool, idiot
Drop your gear - Take your clothes off, get undressed
Dunny - Toilet, bathroom, lavatory

Toilet in New Zealand is known as a dunny


Ear bashing - Someone talking incessantly


Fizz Boat - Small power boat
Flicks - Movies, picture theatre
Footie - Rugby union or league, as in "going to watch the footie"
Full tilt - Going very fast, using all your power, as in "he was running full tilt"


Get the willies - Overcome with trepidation
Going bush - Take a break, become reclusive
Godzone - Gods own country
Good on ya, mate! - Congratulations, well done, proud of someone
Good as gold - Feeling good, not a problem, yes
Greasies - Fish and chips

Fish and chips are known as greasies


Handle - Pint of beer
Hard case - Amusing, funny person
Hollywood - To fake or exaggerate an injury on the sportsfield
Home and hosed - Safe, successfully finished, completed
Hosing down - Heavy rain, raining heavily


Iceblock - Popsicle, Ice Stick


Jandal - Thongs, sandals, flip-flops
Judder bar - Speed bump


Kiwi - New Zealander
Kick the bucket - Die
Knackered - Exhausted, tired, lethargic
Knuckle sandwich - A fist in the teeth, punch in the mouth


Laughing gear - Mouth, as in "you’ll wrap your laughing gear around this"
Long drop - Outdoor toilet, hole in ground
Lurgy - Flu


Mad as a meat axe - Very angry or crazy
Maori - Indigenous people of New Zealand

Maoris are the indigenous people of New Zealand


Naff off - Go away, get lost, leave me alone
Nana - Grandmother, grandma
North Cape to the Bluff - From one end of New Zealand to the other


OE - Overseas Experience, many students go on their OE after finishing university, see the world
Offsider - An assistant, someone's friend, as in "we saw him and his offsider going down the road"
Old bomb - Old car
Open slather - A free-for-all


Pack a sad - Bad mood, morose, ill-humoured, broken, as in "she packed a sad"
Pakeha - Non-Maori person
Panel beater - Auto repair shop, panel shop
Pav - Pavlova, dessert usually topped with kiwifruit and cream
Piker - Someone who gives up easy, slacker
Plonk - Cheap liquor, cheap wine
Pushing up daisies - Dead and buried

Wine in New Zealand


Rark up - Telling somebody off
Rattle your dags - Hurry up, get moving
Rellies - Telatives, family
Ropeable - Very angry
Rust bucket - Decrepit motor car


Scarfie - University student
Scull - Consume, drink quickly
Shoot through - To leave suddenly
Skite - To boast, boasting, bragging
Sparrow fart - Very early in the morning, sunrise
Squiz - Take a quick look
Stubby - Small glass bottle of beer
Sunday driver - Someone who drives very slow
Sunnies - Sunglasses


Ta - Thanks
Tiki tour - Scenic tour, take the long route
Togs - Swimsuit, bathing costume
Tramping - Hiking
Twink - White-out


Wally - Clown, silly person
Whinge - Complain, moan
Wobbly - To have a tantrum
Wop-wops - Situated off the beaten track, out of the way location


Yack - To have a conversation with a friend, to talk