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New Zealand Glossary

New Zealand Glossary

New Zealand Glossary

See an A-Z glossary of words and phrases relating to New Zealand.

This New Zealand glossary covers Maori words (marked with an asterisk), abbreviations and acronyms, slang, and other words and phrases typically used in and about New Zealand.


All Blacks - New Zealand rugby team and national institution

All Whites - New Zealand soccer team

ana - cave*

Aotearoa - ("Land of the Long White Cloud," New Zealand)*

ANZAC - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

aroha - love, empathy*

AUT - Auckland University of Technology (read more about universities in New Zealand)


bach - holiday home (pronounced "batch")

Black Caps - New Zealand cricket team

Black Ferns - New Zealand women's rugby team

boomer - baby boomer (but used of anyone old enough to be your parent)


Captain Cooker - wild pig

cark it - die (slang)

chilly bin - cool box

choice - great, fantastic

chook - chicken (the bird, not its meat)

chur - thank you

Coaster - resident or ex-resident of the west coast of the South Island

cocky - farmer

crib - South Island term for a bach


DB - beer conglomerate now owned by Heineken

dag - amusing, funny person

dairy - general store selling essentials

dob in - report a friend or acquaintance to the police

DOC hut - basic hut in remote areas maintained by the Department of Conservation (DOC)

docket - receipt

dunger - run-down property

dunny - toilet (slang)


egg - fool, idiot


Football Ferns - women's national soccer team

footie - rugby (not soccer)


God Defend New Zealand - the national anthem

Godzone - God's own country (i.e., New Zealand)

greasies  - (pronounced "gree-zeez") takeaway food, especially fish and chips

Great Walks - set of 9 tramping tracks in New Zealand

greenstone - jade; pounamu*

grub - food

GST - Goods & Services Tax

gummies - gumboots, wellingtons


haka - Māori dance of challenge and welcome*

hangi - food cooked underground*

hui - a get-together*


i-site - tourist information centre

iwi - related by descent*


Jandal - Japanese sandal, flip-flops

JAFA - Just Another F*cking Aucklander

jug - liter of beer


kakapo - AKA owl parrot (Strigops habroptilus) a flightless native bird*

karakia - incantation or prayer*

kauri - native pine tree

kea - type of parrot*

kia ora - a greeting wishing someone life and health*

kiwi - kiwi can refer to natives of New Zealand, the flightless bird, or the fruit*

koha - gift given by guests to hosts*

koi - cape*

kokori - inlet*

kumara - Polynesian sweet potato*

Kupe - the legendary discoverer of New Zealand*


Lay-by - deposit

Lucked in - in luck


Māoritanga - Māoriness, the Māori way of life*

mana - prestige, reputation*

manuka - AKA tea tree ((Leptospermum scoparium), the pollen of which makes high-quality honey*

marae - the area in front of a meeting house*

mihi - process of formally acknowledging people*

MetService - Meteorological Service of New Zealand (weather)

moa - Dinornis novaezealandiae, an extinct flightless bird that was New Zealand's largest animal*

moko - tattoo*

munted - broken


NZ - New Zealand

NZD - New Zealand Dollar (currency)

NZST - New Zealand Standard Time

NZX - New Zealand Exchange (Stock Exchange)


OAM - Oamaru*


pā - settlement*

paddock - field

Pākehā - New Zealander of European descent*

pash - passionate kiss (slang)

pike out - chicken out (slang)

piss - beer (slang)

prang - crash, vehicle accident (slang)


QTN - Queenstown


riu - basin (geographical term)*

root - vulgar term for sexual intercourse (slang)

rough as guts - poor, badly-made, performing badly


sav - saveloy (sausage)

snag - sausage

smoko - tea break (slang)

SOOB - Small Owner Operated Brothels

squiz - look (slang)


takahe - flightless bird*

tall poppy - arrogant, someone who excels

tapu - sacred, taboo*

the olds - one's parents (informal)

tiki - Maori carving in humanoid form*

tiki tour - guided tour

tinny - a small (tin-foil-wrapped) package of cannabis resin

Tino Rangatiratanga - Maori flag

togs - swimwear

tohunga - traditional healer*

tramping - walking, hiking

tuatara - reptile*

Tui - brand of beer brewed by DB

tu meke - too much (thanks a lot)*

turps - booze (slang)

TVNZ - TV New Zealand


UE - University Entrance

uni - university

urupa - cemetery*

ute - utility vehicle

utu - revenge*


varsity - university

VUW - Victoria University of Wellington


waka - canoe*

weka - AKA woodhen (Gallirallus australis), a flightless bird native to New Zealand*

Wellywood - the nickname for New Zealand's film industry centred on Wellington

whakapapa - genealogy, genealogical recitation*

whānau - extended family*

whanga - bay*

White Ferns - New Zealand women's cricket team

wop-wops - middle of nowhere, remote area




yarn - chat, talk

yeah nah - a way of saying no without being too direct about it 


ZEL - Z Energy

*word of Maori origin

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