Last Updated on September 1, 2021
New Zealand slang can be quite hard to understand especially on top of our fast and harsh sounding accent. Sometimes it can seem like Kiwi English is an entirely separate language! Which is why I’m going to teach you some common New Zealand phrases and lingo!
This Kiwi slang can be found just about anywhere, even in the likes of fancy restaurants and hotels. It includes some Maori phrases and Maori slang used in everyday life, and even (it turns out) a few terms popular from the UK.
Here’s a complete guide on New Zealand slang and how to use it like a real Kiwi! It may look complicated but trust me once you get the hang of it, it’s easy as bro.
Let’s talk like a Kiwi! Here are some New Zealand slang words!
1. Eh – “It was cloudy this morning eh?”
This is one of the classic New Zealand slang words is one that can be added onto just about every sentence you can think of.
2. Yeah nah – “Do you want a vanilla ice cream? “Yeah nah, I’ll be right.”
Kiwis say this when they are a little indecisive on what the heck they are trying to say.
3. Bugger all – “How much money you got? Bugger all.”
This is used when you have nothing left. I was surprised to also hear this Kiwi slang used in the UK.
4. Bugger – *Something goes wrong* “Bugger!”
You can use bugger when something goes wrong. It’s mostly heard on a farm. This NZ slang is basically a curse word.
5. Chur – “Here’s a drink” “Chur”
Wondering what does chur mean? Well, this word can be slapped around in many different ways. Sometimes the chur meaning is attached to another word or used by itself. It can mean sweet, awesome, yeah, good, cool, cheers.
6. Bro & cuz – “Chur cuz” or “How’s it going bro?”
Basically means the same thing, and is just asking how are you doing. Although it can, this kiwi slang rarely refers to an actual brother or cousin.
7. The wops – “He lives out in the wops”
This is one of the Kiwi sayings people always find adorable, it means a place in the middle of nowhere or far from anything.
8. Carked it – “Did you know Jimmy carked it the other day?” or “The car carked it”
This is a little depressing, but it is usually used when something or someone dies.
9. Munted – “That guy is munted as” or “I crashed my car and it’s munted”
This kiwi word has two meanings: when something is broken or when someone is drunk.
10. Chocka – “Have you had enough to eat?” “Yeah, I’m chocka block” or “Can you fit this into your car?” “Nah, it’s chocka”
This is used when something or someone is full. Not always, but sometimes we add ‘block’ at the end of this New Zealand slang.
11. Sus – “He looks a bit sus” or “That’s a bit sus”
When a situation or someone is particularly suspicious.
12. Piece of piss – “Can you build this Lego man for me? “Yeah, it’s a piece of piss”
This basically means when something is easy.
13. She’ll be right – “Are the sausages burning?” “Nah, she’ll be right”
When something is going to be okay or alright. This is one of my favourite New Zealand slang sayings.
14. Taking the piss – “Can you work for a few more hours?” “You’re taking the piss mate”
If you’re being unreasonable then this is usually what you will hear. This is another of the Kiwi sayings I heard used a lot in the UK.
15. Piss/ Piss up – “Can you grab the piss out of the Ute?” or “I’m just going to go take a piss” or “Let’s have a piss-up”
Piss usually referring to either alcohol or urine. The word piss-up refers to a party. As you can tell, ‘piss’ is pretty diverse in Kiwi slang!
16. Stink one – “Did you grab me a pie?” “No” “Aw stink one ”
Uh oh. This is one of the New Zealand sayings you don’t want to hear because it means you have just disappointed someone.
17. Keen – “Do you wanna go to the pools bro?” “Keen”
Used when someone is enthusiastic about something.
18. Jandals – “Don’t wear sneakers, wear your jandals”
In other words flip flops, thongs (Australian) or sandals. Not only are they used for wearing purposes but also used as a weapon if someone has been a dick.
19. Skux – “You look skux today” “Thanks bro”
This NZ slang word has many meanings. The most popular is when someone looks cool or trendy. Sometimes it can be that a person is looking hot.
20. Nek minute – “I was at the dairy, nek minute”
A true New Zealand icon is this guy. He created this famous video which has now had over 3 million views. So nek minute basically means ‘next minute’. This is one of the New Zealand words I use all the time with my Kiwi friends overseas.
21. Mare – “I’m having a mare today”
This means you’re having a difficult time.
22. Pack a sad – “That kid is packing a sad”.
Whatever you do, don’t do this. Packing a sad means you’re basically having a tantrum.
23. Gumboots – Chuck on your gumboots and let’s go on the farm”
Also known as wellingtons or rubber boots. As a kid, one of my favourite songs of all time was the gumboot song!
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24. Beached as – “I can’t get off my bed, I’m beached as bro!”
Referring to the cartoon where a whale is stuck on the beach, it means when you’re stuck somewhere.
25. Maaaate – “I forgot to buy you a bag of chips” “Aw maaaaate”
This has to be said with an extended middle of course, but the normal word is just mate. You would use this NZ slang if you’re a little bit disappointed.
26. Choice – “I got you a pie” “Choice bro!”
Choice means awesome, cool, great, thanks.
27. Dag – “Linda is a dag”
Dag is one of the Kiwi words that has multiple meanings. The official meaning is a piece of old poo hanging from a sheep bum. But if used in Kiwi slang, as in this case, it actually means that something or someone is funny.
28. Hard case – “Oh Sharon, she’s a hard case!”
Hard case is New Zealand lingo for a person who is witty.
29. Hard out / hard – “Karen is so annoying” “Hard out bro”
Hard/hard out is a phrase used when you agree with someone.
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30. Egg – “You’re an egg” or “You’re a rotten egg”
You will probably need to watch the movie ‘Boy’ to appreciate how versatile this word is in Kiwi English and how to say it in many different forms. It’s used as an insult toward someone.
31. Good as gold – “Everything is good as gold”.
Means everything is great, sweet, perfect or going great. One of the classic New Zealand slang words!
32. Bloody – “That was a bloody great night out, wasn’t it?”
This word is stereotypically British, so you might be surprised to learn that is a very common New Zealand phrase, too. Bloody is put into any old sentence.
33. Tu meke / too much – “I got you a pie” “Too much bro”
Tu meke is one of the a Maori phrases on the list. It is Maori for too much. It’s not used as you might have thought. It means awesome or good job.
34. Yarn – “Stop spinning a yarn” or “That was a good yarn”
Yarn is NZ slang for a story or talking bull.
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35. Skull – “Skull it now!”
In other countries, you probably yell “drink” instead of skull when someone is downing a drink. In New Zealand, we yell “skull, skull, skull”. So if you hear someone yelling that in a bar, don’t worry they haven’t just found a dead body, it’s just some Kiwi drinking slang.
36. Chilly bin – “The drinks are in the chilly bin bro!”
This is a bin where you keep your drinks called. Also known as a cooler bin or in Australia it’s an esky.
37. Hungus – “Stop being a hungus!”
This refers to someone who loves food a lot.
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38. Gizza – “Can you gizza drink bro?”
This is word is short for ‘give me’. It is very common in Kiwi English for multiple words to be shortened this way.
39. No worries – “Thanks for that!” “No worries cuz”
This means no problem! If someone helps you and you say thank you they will usually reply ‘no worries’.
40. Not even ow – “Jack went to Jail” “Not even ow”
I’m not sure I can really translate the meaning of this unique New Zealand phrase as it simply is what it says. You might use this term if you are a bit surprised. ‘Ow’ is a term for you or someone. It can be added to just about any sentence and still make sense to a Kiwi.
41. Yeah right – “Johns got a girlfriend” “Yeah right!”
A classic NZ saying that is apparent on Tui billboards. You can say this to someone if you don’t really believe what they are saying (Tui is an NZ beer). This is one of the New Zealand slang words you will hear a lot!
42. Bowl round – “I’m going to bowl round to your house” “Chur bro”.
It literally has nothing to do with Bowls being round, in true Kiwi slang style. It means when someone is coming around to visit.
43. Long drop – “Just got to go use the long drop”
A long drop is a Kiwi term for an outhouse or an outside toilet with no flushing system. Commonly found in campgrounds and out in the wops.
44. Heaps – “I have heaps of piss bro!”
New Zealanders use this word like it’s going out of fashion. Heaps means lots.
45. Togs – “I’m just gonna go get my togs on”
This is one of the NZ slang words I always get funny looks for. When a Kiwi refers to togs they mean swimming costume, swimmers or bathing costume.
46. All good – “I forgot to wear pants today” “That’s all good bro, I understand.”
Basically means what it says. You would use this if something is all good or it can mean that’s okay too.
47. Mean as – “I got this lollipop for free!” “That’s mean as!”
This means sweet, great, cool. Refers to something being awesome.
48. Crack up –“ I got a fine for stealing a piece of grass off my neighbour’s lawn” “That’s a crack up!”
Instead of saying that is funny you could just use the iconic New Zealand slang words ‘crack up’.
49. Straight up – “Are you being straight up?”
This word can actually mean two things. Either you’re telling the truth (being straight up) or you’re agreeing with someone like you would say “absolutely”.
50. Wanna hiding – “Wanna hiding bro?!”
This is one of the Kiwi phrases you never want to hear. If someone comes up to you on the street in New Zealand and asks this, it does NOT mean they want to play hide and go seek. It means they want to know if you want to fight them.
51. Sweet as- “This road trip is sweet as”
This phrase is probably the most common NZ slang phrase. This can be used to describe something OR as a response. Let’s say someone says they are going to be late meeting you, in response to that I would probably say something like sweet as.
52. Squizz – . “Can I have a squizz at your new kitchen?”
I’ve been told this is a very odd word in Kiwi English, and I have to agree! This means to have a quick look.
53. Ta – “Here’s a sandwich” “Ta”
It simply means thanks.
54. Pakaru – “Mum, the TV is Pakaru!”
Another of the Maori phrases commonly used throughout New Zealand. This Maori word is often used when something is broken.
55. Stubbies – “Chuck your stubbies on, we’re heading to the beach for a day out!”
One of my favourite Kiwi slang words is stubbies! It’s another word for short shorts and they’re usually especially hard on the eye if men wear them.
56. Dairy – “Let’s go to the dairy and grab a pie!”
The dairy is also a corner store where you can grab snacks, a mince and cheese pie and just about anything else you need!
As long as you have these Kiwi slang words sorted you can start talking like the locals! Just don’t ask them to say the sentence ‘my deck is very slippery’. You may get a hiding. Tell me below what is your favourite New Zealand slang words. Do you think you can master Kiwi English before your visit?
Need accommodation in New Zealand? Click here to see the latest prices and availability around the country!Make your visit to New Zealand quicker and effortless by checking out eTA New Zealand. There’s a new electronic visa waiver which launched in October 2019.
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