A Traveler’s Guide to New Zealand Slang

A Traveler’s Guide to New Zealand Slang

Brush up on New Zealand slang before your holiday, so when locals ask you to take a squiz at their jumper, you won’t be completely lost.

Travelers to New Zealand might be surprised to find that while most Kiwis (the local slang term for New Zealanders) do speak English, there will still be quite a few terms that may prove puzzling. Here’s a small selection of Kiwi slang, with a handy translation for those who aren’t from Godzone (New Zealand).
 
 
Anklebiter: small child (“How’s the anklebiter these days?”)
Aotearoa: New Zealand, literally “land of the long white cloud” (“It’s another beautiful day in Aotearoa.”)
Bach: holiday beach house (“The whole family is staying at the bach over summer.”)
Bludge: sponge off others (“Pay for your own stuff, don’t bludge off me.”)
Campervan: RV, motorhome (“There’s nothing like a family campervan trip.”)
Carked it: died (“The van carked it halfway up the hill.”)
Chilly bin: cooler, esky (“The chilly bin’s full of beer, so we’re sorted.”)
Chocka: totally full (“The garage is chocka, we should clear it out.”)
Cuppa: hot beverage, usually tea (“Come out of the cold, I’ll make you a cuppa.”)
Dear: expensive (“It’s a nice jacket but it’s much too dear.”)
Eh: isn’t that right (“It’s freezing out there, eh?”)
Flat out: very busy / very fast (“I’ve been flat out lately, it’s really stressful.” “I ran flat out to catch the train.”)
Footpath: sidewalk (“Cyclists need to stay off the footpath.”)
Hard case: A joker or roguish troublemaker (“Did you hear what Murray got up to on Friday? He’s a hard case…”)
Jandal: flip flops, thong sandals (“I can’t believe you didn’t bring your jandals to the beach.”)
Jumper: sweater (“I keep finding holes in my jumper.”)
Kai: food (“Kai’s ready, dig in.”)
Kia ora: hello (“Kia ora bro, how are you?”)
Loo: toilet, bathroom (“I’ll just use the loo before we leave.”)
Mint: perfect or very good (“I bought a mint phone on the weekend.”)
No worries: that’s fine / easy (“No worries, I’ll get that done for you.” “We’ll beat them no worries.”)
Pack a sad: to become moody / break (“Cheer up, don’t pack a sad.” “The fridge packed a sad and leaked everywhere.”)
Serviette: napkin (“Can you pass the serviettes, please?”)
She’ll be right: it’ll be okay (“Don’t worry about it, she’ll be right.”)
Skint: broke (“I can’t afford it this week, I’m totally skint.”)
Squizz: look, examine (“Hey, take a squizz at this!”)
Stoked: very pleased (“I’m stoked I got the job.”)
Suss / suss out: fishy / investigate (“I don’t trust him, he seems a bit suss.” “I’ll suss out the situation and let you know.”)
Sweet as: brilliant, fantastic (“Let’s catch up soon.” “Sweet as.”)
Togs: bathing attire (“Get your togs on, the waves are perfect.”)
Whanau: extended family (“We’ll have the whanau around for a BBQ.”)
Wop wops: remote wilderness (“I was stranded way out in the wop wops.”)
Yeah nah: implies hesitation (“Yeah nah, I’m not sure I want to do that.”)
 
 
Been to Aotearoa already and think we’re missing some New Zealand slang? Let us know in the comments!

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Written By: Kristof Haines

It’s funny how motorhome memories stick with you. I can still recall a motorhome vacation my family took when I was five years old and how awesome I thought I was, tucked away in a loft bed above the cab. From revealing unique destinations to providing tips and tricks, it’s my mission to help others build great motorhome memories too.