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New Zealand (Kiwi) Slang

New Zealand (Kiwi) Slang

New Zealand Glossary

See an A-Z glossary of New Zealand (Kiwi) slang words and phrases.

New Zealand slang has something in common with Aussie and British slang but also many differences.

Learn to yack like a proper Kiwi with this fun listing of New Zealand slang words and colloquialisms.


all good - no problem, fine

Anzac biscuit - a sweet biscuit.

aroha - love, empathy*


bach - holiday home (pronounced "batch")

beaut - great, excellent

belt up - be quiet, shut up

bogans - unsophisticated, rough

boil the billy - brew up, make tea

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

bro - mate, friend (usually male)


Captain Cooker - wild pig

cark it - die

cheers - thanks

chilly bin - cool box

chocka - full

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

crack up - funny, amusing

crib - South Island term for a bach

cuz - mate, similar to bro


dag - amusing, funny person

dairy - general store selling essentials

dob in - report a friend or acquaintance to the police

dunger - run-down property

Dunners - Dunedin

dunny - toilet


egg - fool, idiot


footie - rugby (not soccer)


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

good as gold - great, perfect

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

grotty - disgusting

grub - food

gummies - gumboots, wellingtons


hard case - funny, amusing

hard out - agree

hard word - as in "put the hard work on" - demand

heaps - a lot of

hot chips - chips/French fries

hungus - a person who eats a lot


Ice block - ice lolly


Jandal - Japanese sandal, flip-flops

JAFA - Just Another F*cking Aucklander

judder bar - speed bump

jug - liter of beer


kai - food*

keen - enthusiastic

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


laughing gear - mouth

lay-by - purchasing goods by having them put aside by the merchant and paying them off in instalments, receiving the goods when payment is complete.

long drop - outside toilet

lucked in - in luck


Maccas - McDonalds

mare - short for nightmare, bad experience

mean as - awesome, great

morning tea - mid-morning snack

munted - broken



OE - overseas experience (for young Kiwis); traditionally working behind a bar in London


paddock - field

pakaru - broken*

pash - passionate kiss

pike out - chicken out

piker - lazy, useless

piss - beer

prang - crash, vehicle accident



ratbag - unpleasant or malicious person, but used fondly in the case of mischievous children

rark up - telling off

root - vulgar term for sexual intercourse

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


sav - saveloy (sausage)

scarfie - uni student in Dunedin

she'll be right - everything will be fine

skull - drink in one

skux - attractive, cool

snag - sausage

snarler - sausage

smoko - tea break (from smoking break)

spit the dummy - tantrum

squiz - look

staggy - stagnant

stink one - disappointed

stubbies - shorts

sunnies - sunglasses

sus - suspicious

sweet as - no problem


tall poppy - arrogant, someone who excels

the olds - one's parents (informal)

tiki tour - guided tour

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

togs - swimwear

tramping - walking, hiking

tramp stamp - a tattoo on a woman's lower back

tu meke - too much (thanks a lot)*

turps - booze

twink - white out/correct text


uni - university

ute - utility vehicle


varsity - university


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

Westie - resident of west Auckland

wop-wops - middle of nowhere, remote area




yakka - work

yarn - chat, talk

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

yonks - long time


*word of Maori origin


UK Glossary

NZ Glossary

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Books on New Zealand

Books about New Zealand

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