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unique vocabulary of New Zealand

A Beginner's Guide to the Kiwi Language: Reference List

Awesome – something great: “That rugby game was awesome”

Bach – a casual holiday home, often by a beach or river

Barbie – shortened version of barbeque/grill: “Put some meat on the barbie”

Cheers or Ta – another word for thank you: “Cheers for letting us use your bach”

Chilly bin – the New Zealand name for a cooler/portable ice chest or box

Cool – replacement for good, or if someone is described as cool, then it means they are popular or trendy

Dairy (store) – these small convenience stores most commonly sell snack foods, sweets, ice creams, milk shakes and some hot food, plus staples like bread and milk

Flannel – a soft woven fabric made from wool or cotton, typically worn by farmers as it’s durable and warm

“Good on ya” – shortened version of “good on you”, used for congratulating someone

Gumboots – rubber boots usually won by farmers to protect their feet; known as Wellingtons or galoshes in other countries

Heaps – used commonly in place of many or a lot: “I’ve got heaps of time” or “she brought heaps of fish”

“How’s it going?” – can be for asking how something is going, but is becoming more commonplace as a replacement for “how are you?”

Jandals – known in other countries as thongs or flip-flops, these are a popular type of footwear made of foam or rubber

Kumara – sweet potato; red, orange or gold in colour

Mate – friend: “I went to the beach with my mate” or “hey mate, how’s it going?”

Marmite – a thick black, yeasty spread with an acquired taste that is eaten as a savoury, spread usually on toast

Mean – if used positively, it’s another word for cool or neat: “That concert was mean!”

Meat pie – Kiwis love pies! Usually mince or meat mixed with gravy and cased in a pastry-shaped bowl with a pastry or potato cover

Munted – meaning broken or ruined, this word has been more widely used since the Canterbury earthquakes

“No worries” – usually used as a reply to being thanked

Satched – someone will come in from the rain and say they are “satched,” meaning they are saturated or wet

“She’ll be right” – everything will be ok or alight

Suss – commonly used word that means to figure something out: “I’m going to suss things out before I leave on holiday”

Sweet as – another reply when being thanked or just as an ok or affirmative

Tiki tour – a scenic or longer route to a destination

Togs – swimwear or swimming costume

Tramping – a favourite Kiwi pastime, tramping is known in other countries as hiking and refers to any walking trip taken outside for the day or several days

Ute – short for utility vehicle, often used by farmers