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14 New Zealand (Kiwi) Slang Terms You Need to Know

3 min read
19 July 2013
Camper in New Zealand mountain

Today's post is a guest post, written by Jason Larosa, who works for our Australia and New Zealand schools. 

If you plan to visit or study in New Zealand, you may want to brush up on a few words and phrases commonly used in New Zealand. Slang in New Zealand is similar to Australian slang, though it’s not exactly the same.

New Zealanders, who refer to themselves as Kiwis, are, like their Aussie neighbors, also fond of nicknaming things. One example is the phrase “cuppa”, meaning cup of tea or coffee; but the Kiwi’s unique dialect brings about a colourful and diverse encyclopaedia of slang, a lot of which is used in everyday conversation. Witty phrasing, enthusiastic expressions and a background of the indigenous Maori language make up this animated vocabulary. 

Student in Auckland


We’ve put a list of 14 slang words and phrases that Kiwis use to help you make it out of the airport. Some of these you might recognize, but others you will have never heard before.

  1. Kia Ora – Maori word for hello
    “Kia Ora! How are you?”
  2. Cheers – Thanks
    “Cheers for the lift home!”
  3. Chocka – Full
    That bar was chocka with people.
  4. Choice – Excellent, great; expressing something as positive
    Those new shoes are choice!
  5. Cuzzie or cuz – Meaning cousin - used as a term of address for a friend
    “I haven’t seen you in weeks, cuz.”
  6. Dodgy – Bad, unreliable
    That guy selling the tickets to the concert was dodgy.
  7. Good on ya – Well done, congratulations
    “I just got a new job.”
    “Good on ya, mate!”
  8. Jandals – Flip-flops/sandals - or 'thongs' if you're in Australia
    I just bought a new pair of jandals.
  9. Knackered – Tired, exhausted
    I was knackered after that run.” 
  10. Munted – Damaged beyond repair
    “My car got munted in that accident!”
  11. She’ll be right - Everything is going to be fine
    My car won’t start, but she’ll be right.
  12. Sweet as – Really good; awesome
    “We had a sweet as time on the weekend.”
  13. Wop-wops – In the middle of nowhere
    “We got lost out in the wop-wops.” 

Let’s see how much you’ve learned. If you can understand this passage, you are well on your way to speaking like a true Kiwi!

Kia Ora, cuzzie. We went out camping in wop-wop last week and it was chocka with flies. Paul lost his jandals, which was dodgy, but she’ll be right, it was a choice weekend anyway. I was knackered at the end, and gave Paul a lift home and he said “Cheers cuz, good on ya,” which was sweet as. ”


It’s time to get planning!

Get ready for your life-changing trip with Kaplan. 


How did you go? Let’s break it down:

Hello, friend. We went camping in the middle of nowhere the other day and there were a lot of flies in the area. Paul lost his shoes, which was no good, but that’s okay, we had an excellent time anyway. When we were leaving I was very tired, but I gave Paul a lift home and he said “thank you, friend. Well done,” which was very nice.

If you read them both the same, then it’s time to book your ticket to Auckland, New Zealand!

  1. Haere rā! (Maori goodbye)


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