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New Zealand Slang

Uniquely New Zealand experienceEnglish is the official language of New Zealand, and Maori, the language of the indigenous Maori people of New Zealand, is widely spoken at official functions. Children are now learning Maori in schools and there are some areas of New Zealand (small remote towns) where it is still spoken on a day to day basis.

Although we primarily speak English, New Zealanders are well known for their slang, and for a visitor it can be confusing not only dealing with the New Zealand accent, but being confronted with words you’ve never heard before! Our slang is a mixture of English and Maori words. Many of our slang terms can be traced back terms used in Southern England, and were probably brought to New Zealand with the migrant settlers.

Here are some of the most common terms you’ll hear in New Zealand during your campervan rental holiday.

Kia ora – Hello

Bro – mate; friend (used to address anyone including strangers)

Cuzzies – relatives

Bach (pronounced Batch) – holiday home

Bush – New Zealand native forest

Jandals – thongs; flip-flops

Togs – swimming costume

Chilly bin – eski; portable ice-box used to keep food and drinks cool

Choice – excellent, great!

Dairy – convenience store

Haere mai – welcome

Hangi – traditional Maori meal cooked in an underground oven

Hard case – funny, witty

Kiwi – a person from New Zealand or a native flightless bird

Lollies – sweets, candy

Pakeha – person of European descent

Sweet as – Great

Puku – stomach

Tiki tour – wandering route

Now, if you can translate this sentence, you’re ready for your New Zealand campervan rental holiday!

Kia ora bro! We hope your tiki tour around New Zealand will be sweet as! Don’t forget your jandals and togs. You’ll have a very full puku after you try a hangi, but if you have room, head to the dairy for some lollies.

Stuck on a New Zealand term? Contact us and we’ll translate it for you!

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