Us kiwis have
butchered taken charge of the English language and put our own spin on it. Often to the confusion of the rest of the world and cop a lot of flak for our accent. But we are fairly good at taking the piss out of ourselves as well. So grab a cuppa, kick off your jandles and take a squiz at the post below to suss out how to speak Kiwi.
Common phrases or words used when learning how to speak Kiwi
Not all of these are exclusive to Kiwi’s but they are some popular phrases and sayings that you will hear often.
Kiwi – a Native New Zealander. Or a native New Zealand bird. Us En Zedders often refer to ourselves as Kiwi’s
Sweet as – A very versatile saying, it can be used as sweet as, sweet or sweet bro (brownie points for this one). It can mean yes (you want to go to the beach? Sweet!), an acknowledgement (Chur for that mean as feed. Sweet as bro), an agreement, good (how was your night on the piss? Sweet as) or a multitude of other ways.
Barbie – Sometimes a girls doll but other times short for Barbeque, chuck some meat on the barbie mate. Context is key.
Chur – Another versatile saying, often meaning thanks, an alternative to cheers, a greeting, a farewell, an agreement or when you just don’t know what to say
Arvo – short for afternoon, she’s a hot one this arvo
Smoko – short for tea break, almost time for smoko
Jandles – footwear that is known in other countries as thongs or flip-flops. Jandles are a summer staple. Pick some up at the warehouse for $1.50, chur.
Tramp – another word for a hike. I often spend a lot of time tramping.
Park – not to be confused with a children’s playground. A park is a space where you park your car. I got a good park right outside the dairy
Bro – a bro is your brother from another mother. Use it instead of given names. Chur bro, whatchu up to this arvo?
Togs – another name for swimwear, just gotta chuck my togs in my bag then I’m sweet to go
Dairy – the corner shop is known as a dairy here in Kiwiland. You can buy your lollies, milk, mince and cheese pies, pineapple lumps and hokey pokey ice cream here. If someone asks you to stop by the dairy to grab milk, don’t envisage stopping by the nearest farm and yanking on cows udders. That will get you into trouble.
Wop wops – another name for the middle of nowhere. I currently live in the wop wops.
Tiki tour – taking the scenic route, why were you so late? We took a tiki tour on the way
Knackered – really really tired. Mate, I’m knackered
She’ll be right – I have no idea who ‘she’ is but it means everything will be ok. Hey bro, do you need help with this? Nah mate, she’ll be right
Chilly bin – also known in other countries as a cooler, cool box, esky, an insulated box made for keep food cold. Chuck a coupla stubbies in the chilly bin would ya?
Squiz – giz a squiz translates to take a look.
Gumboots – a kiwi staple, generally worn with stubbies (see below) by farmers. Known as welly boots in other parts of the world. We even have our own gumboot related sport. Gumboot Throwing. Coz we are all class here
Hard case – a person with a great sense of humour, someone funny. She’s a real hard case
Heaps- a lot. This word is used heaps. It has the added advantage of making us seem heaps intelligent.
Piss – taking the piss means to take the mickey out of someone. Getting on the piss means to have a wee drinking session. We got on the piss last night, took the piss out of the cuzzie hard out.
Stubbies – a very short pair of shorts, often worn by farmers, tradies or rugby players. Stubbies can also mean a can of beer.
Suss – when you suss something out you are looking for more information or sizing something up. When you have sussed something out you have discovered something. I managed to suss out his lies
Yeah, nah – this is a confusing one, it can mean either yes, no or maybe, a polite way of disagreeing with someone, or just not really giving a monkey’s. Context is key here. Body language and tone also play important roles in deciphering the meaning. Check out the below examples for the various ways it can be used:
do you wanna come to the pub?
yeah nah I will see you there bout 7
do you wanna come to the pub?
yeah nah I can’t tonight I have work early eh
do you wanna come to the pub?
yeah nah I will have to check with the mrs
You’re all good – a polite way of saying that’s ok. Person: Sorry (said after walking into you). You: You’re all good!
Chocka – full. Mate, she’s chocka! Said while referring to the freezer or chilly bin, or car, or wardrobe or anything else that takes your fancy
Cuppa – cup of tea, we are lazy talkers us Kiwi’s, if we can shorten something, chances are we will. Just gonna have a cuppa then I’ll be round.
Cuzzies – usually how someone refers to their cousins or close friends. Sometimes the word bro is added to the end to make it cuzzie bro. Meeting my cuzzie at the pub
Have a feed – Eat a meal, just gonna have a quick feed first.
Hokey pokey – New Zealand’s favourite ice cream flavour, vanilla with toffee bits
Lollies – lollies are found at the dairy. Other countries refer to them as candy or sweets. Nope, not us. Lollies are a staple road trip item.
Marge – another shortened word, margarine is commonly referred to as marge, just gonna pop to the dairy and grab us some marge.
Shout – doesn’t always mean talking really loudly, but to shout someone is to pay for their meal, movie ticket or whatever else. My shout, you shouted last time.
Hardout/hard – used to show agreement, or used to show emphasis. Did you get on the piss last night? Yeah, hard bro
Munted – something that is broken or someone who is a little weird. I crashed my car last week, it’s munted now.
If you are still a bit confused this quick YouTube video explains some of common phrases and slang
How to decipher the accent
A becomes E
Let’s peck a beg
E sometimes becomes I
That’s a rilly bug dick Or let’s have iggs for brikky
Another example, when I lived in the UK for 18 months everyone thought my name was Jim, not Jem. I ended up just rolling with it.
E sometimes becomes EE
Give us teen meenuts, chur
I sometimes becomes U
Let’s get some fush and chups
I sometimes becomes OI
Oi’ll bee there soon
O and U we have generally left alone
For your deciphering needs, I have put together a quick guide so you can practise speaking Kiwi at home.
Check out this video for how to master the accent.
Important things to note when learning how to speak Kiwi
- We generally finish every sentence with a question mark. A full stop indicates the conversation is over, not the sentence.
- Abbreviate. A lot. As in heaps. Sweet for a barbie ‘morrow arvo, you peck up the piss after smoko?
- Us Kiwis are fast talkers. Words tend to run into each other and sentences sometimes come out as one word. With a question mark at the end. Obvs.
- We are a friendly bunch generally and don’t mind taking the piss out of ourselves. We also will sometimes take the piss out of your accent while you take the piss out of ours. Call it an icebreaker.
- We tend to replace the word ‘it’ with ‘she’ for example she’ll be right. Inanimate objects often get referred to as ‘she’ as well. She was a good car.
While we do have a difficult language to decipher, we are always up for a laugh. If you don’t understand something, make a joke out of it or ask for clarification. Kiwi’s are a friendly species.
What other words do you associate with our language? Chuck ’em in the comments
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