Common New Zealand Slang, Sayings & Maori Terms

 Common New Zealand Slang, Sayings & Maori terms

Kiwi Slang is very unique. New Zealanders have many sayings that have been passed down thru generations and might not make sense to those of us who are not from New Zealand. Here is a handy list of some New Zealand slang and sayings along with their meanings.

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Some popular kiwi words:

  • Wop wop’s: The middle of nowhere/the sticks
  • Togs: Swimsuit
  • Jandals: Flip flops/thongs
  • Buggered/knackered: Really tired
  • Jumper: Sweater/pull over
  • Bach/crib: Holiday home
  • Bro: Brother, friend
  • Chur: Thanks
  • Hokey-pokey: Ice cream flavour (definitely try this while in New Zealand)
  • Stubbie: Bottle of beer
  • Stubbies: Shorts (short shorts)

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Popular Kiwi Phrases:

  • All good: That’s ok, never mind
  • Sweet as: Great, good, fine
  • Choice as: That’s great, awesome, sure
  • Yeah nah: This has a large variety of meanings, the most common one’s being: an acknowledgment that you have spoken, but disagree with what you said; a space filler within a sentence
  • Most common use example: 
    “Nick thought the show was rubbish, didn’t you Nick?”
    “Yea, nah”
  • Bring a plate: Bring a shared dish of food to a party/gathering (if you get asked to ‘bring a plate’ do not just bring an empty plate, you will be judged harshly)
  • She’ll be right: It will be fine, everything is ok, don’t worry about it
  • No worries: You’re welcome, no problem
  • You right?: Are you ok? Is everything ok?



Common Maori phrases you will hear

  • Kia Ora (key-or-a): Hello
  • Haere Mai (high-reh-my) – welcome.
  • Haere Ra (high-reh-rah) – goodbye
  • Whanau (far-now): Family
  • Ka kite ano: See you later (commonly used by news anchors)
  • Mana: Respect
  • Kai: Food
  • Ka pai: Good work



1.“My bloody car carked it yesterday.” Translation: “My car died yesterday.”

2.“Pff! He couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.” Translation: ‘He’ is unable to accomplish a simple task.

3.“Pass me the chuddy.” Translation: “Pass me the chewing gum.”

4.“Had enough to eat, love?” “Yep, I’m chocka.” Translation: “Yep, I’m full.”

5.“That fulla is munted.” Translation: “That guy is drunk.”

6.“Did you see Susan? She looked like mutton dressed as lamb.” Translation: Susan was dressing too young for her age.

7.“I had a bloody mare last night.” Translation: “I had a bad time last night.”

8.“Had a big one on the turps.” Translation: “Had a big night of drinking.”

9.“Mandy is packing a sad.” Translation: “Mandy is upset.”

10.“He’s a muppet!” Translation: “He’s an incompetent idiot.”


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