New Zealand through the eyes of a Brit – Part 2: Kiwis vs Australians – A Lingo Lesson

After introducing you to Kiwi-land in Part 1, our guest blogger Sam Berwick is back with a lesson on common Kiwi lingo and how to really pronounce those crazy New Zealand place names.

Kiwis and Australians are not the same. Antipodeans, yes; part of the same country, no. Kiwis are also not Australian. Yeah, they sound the same to us Brits, but they couldn’t be more different. If you’re unsure, you can look for these telltale signs in the way they speak.

 

How to speak Kiwi

“Bro” This is used instead of Australia’s “mate.”
“Sweet” or “Choice” Used to describe something that is good or to indicate that everything is good.
“Back in the day” Used to describe an undetermined amount of time in the past, anything from a week to the start of time.
“ – As” For example, “hot as”, “cold as”, “fun as”, “drunk as”, “mean as”, “sweet as.” “As” what I’m not too sure.
“Dairy” This is a shop or a news agent. Here you’ll find the usual things you’d expect and a lot more.
“Chips” These are crisps and not to be mistaken for ‘hot chips’ or, as we in the UK call them, chips. And while we’re on the subject of chips, please be aware that vinegar isn’t the first thing that you put on your chips in New Zealand…it’s aioli! Different but still tasty. Also between you and I stay away from Watties. It looks like Heinz, but it sure as hell doesn’t taste like it.

NZ chips = UK crisps
NZ chips = UK crisps

And the one thing that will 100% indicates that you are talking to a Kiwi is “Jandal,” a word for flip flops that is so silly my spell check wants to change it to sandal.

100% Kiwi Jandals
100% Kiwi Jandals

When you eventually speak to a Kiwi the conversation might go like this:

  • Kiwi: “Hey bro!”
  • Brit: “Hello.”
  • Kiwi: “Those jandals you’re wearing are choice. I had a pair like that back in the day.”
  • Brit: “Thank you.”
  • Kiwi: “Bro, I’ve got to gap it down to the dairy to meet some cuzzies and get some chips, they’re mean as. Chur!”
  • Brit: “Goodbye?”

Pronunciation

When I first arrived in Aotearoa (see I’m picking it up!) I jumped on a Stray bus around the North Island. One of the first things I noticed (after interpreting my driver’s commentary) was that this country has some strange, and to the untrained ear, slightly offensive, place names! Some of my favourites are:

  • Whakatane, pronounced: fuk a ta-nay
  • Whakapapa, pronounced: fuk a papa
  • Waipu, pronounced: Why poo
Road sign
Road sign

I quickly learnt that Maori words are pronounced differently with the main funny one being that ‘“wh” is pronounced “f” and there are loads of places that the Maoris have named…you get the idea. Make sure you look out for these signs along the way!

Next up I warn you about confusing trousers with pants and other clothing faux pas.


Guest blogger Sam Berwick recently arrived in New Zealand from London. As a Brit in the ‘land of the long white cloud’ for the first time, he now describes Kiwi culture as “funny, strange and downright crazy” and that’s after only a few months! In this blog series, Sam’s shares his unedited thoughts, observations and advice as a Kiwi culture survival guide for all visitors.

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Travel Mate (guest blogger)

Have you travelled on a Stray tour in New Zealand, Australia or Asia? How about creating a blog post about your experience? Or are you a frequent traveller and want to add your travel knowledge to our travel blog? Get in touch. We welcome relevant guest posts.

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Elham
Elham
Guest
17 January 2017 12:14 pm

Hi there,
Thanks for your nice website. It is of a great help.
Could you please let me know how I can find the whole useful idioms and NZ lingos please! Cause I could see just a few of them!

Best regards,

Elham

Lisa T
Guest
Reply to  Elham
8 February 2017 3:00 pm

Kia ora! You can find a lot more useful Kiwi lingo and sayings here: https://www.straytravel.com/travel-guide/new-zealand/kiwi-lingo/ Cheers!

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