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New Zealand Slang

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Our guide to slang in New Zealand (Aotearoa)

awesome = great
bach = (pronounced ‘batch’) holiday home
beauty = doozy
bob each way = supporting both opposing sides
box of birds = standard response to the inquiry “How are you?”
bro = friend
cheers – thank you
choice bro – nice one
cotton wool – cotton ball (example)
cracker = very good
cuppa = cup of tea
cuzzies – cousins
(the) ditch = Tasmanian Sea
dodgy = unreliable
dunny = toilet
ear bashing = someone talking incessantly
entree = appetizer, not main course
fence sitter – person who is undecided
good as gold – that’s great
haka = traditional Maori dance
jandals = flip-flops
kumara = sweet potato
lifestyle block = hobby farm
main – main course
mate = buddy
motella = owner or manager of a hotel
munted = broken
no worries = no problem
OE = overseas experience
pakeha = person of European descent
reckon = to think
root = to have sex
snarky – sarcastic
sparrow fart – sunrise
sst = Sunday Star Times
stink = no good
sweet as – awesome, excellent
that’s us = we’re done
tramping =
westerlies = prevailing winds in the middle latitudes between 35 and 65 degrees latitude, blowing from the high pressure area toward the poles
whinge = to complain
wireless = radio
yes, no = Yes, I understand you/hear you, and no, I disagree

Elsewhere on the Web
New Zealand English
Kiwi Words and Phrases – Chemistry New Zealand
Slang – Kiwi Chat
Origins of New Zealand English

O for Awesome
If it’s 3am in New Zealand and you’re at a BP station, what must you always do? Always blow on the pie

National Anthem, God Defend New Zealand / Aotearoa

New Zealand National Youth Choir
Aotearoa / God Defend New Zealand (1.8 mb)

Māori Version
E Ihowā Atua,
O ngā iwi mātou rā
Āta whakarangona;
Me aroha noa
Kia hua ko te pai;
Kia tau tō atawhai;
Manaakitia mai
Ōna mano tāngata
Kiri whero, kiri mā,
Iwi Māori, Pākehā,
Rūpeke katoa,
Nei ka tono ko ngā hē
Māu e whakaahu kē,
Kia ora mārire


Tōna mana kia tū!
Tōna kaha kia ū;
Tōna rongo hei pakū
Ki te ao katoa
Aua rawa ngā whawhai
Ngā tutū e tata mai;
Kia tupu nui ai

Waiho tona takiwā
Ko te ao mārama;
Kia whiti tōna rā
Taiāwhio noa.
Ko te hae me te ngangau
Meinga kia kore kau;
Waiho i te rongo mau

Tōna pai me toitū
Tika rawa, pono pū;
Tōna noho, tāna tū;
Iwi nō Ihowā.
Kaua mōna whakamā;
Kia hau te ingoa;
Kia tū hei tauira;

English Version
God of Nations at Thy feet,
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.
Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.


Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country’s spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations’ van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.

New Zealand English
New Zealand Words



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