Down under, Australia and New Zealand are both very far from and different from the US.  They take on new slang terms and meanings to words and also adapt different lifestyle things.  I haven’t been fully immersed in this country long enough to experience it all, but I have had enough time to pick up on some of the differences.  And now that I am traveling on my own time, I have time to share some of the New Zealand-isms and I have to share them before I leave tomorrow!  These are the lifestyle quirks and words of New Zealand that I have personally observed:

Sayings – New Zealand vocab is a mix of Australian, British, and Maori expressions.  They still have a tendancy to shorten lots of things as well as different names for things

  • Kia Ora – Maori word meaning hello or welcome in Maori, the native people’s language
  • Sweet As – sounds like sweet ass, so when someone says it to you think, whoa rude, but in context, it’s a good thing meaning cool, awesome, I’m good with that
  • Choice – great, as in that would be choice
  • Are you keen – Do you want to…
  • Heaps – a lot
  • How ya going – How are you doing?
  • Good on ya: way to go!
  • No worries: It’s okay

Things: Some of the things (items, places, and people) that have significance here

  • Shoes – No shoes, no problem.  Lots of people walk around barefoot
  • Dairy – Corner shop, convenience store
  • Coins – Still the $1 and $2 have to be the most annoying form of change because the coins add up and get heavy in the wallet.

  • Bach a summer holiday home, many on Waiheke
  • Geography – New Zealand is located on a fault which builds mountains throughout the country and fault lines of geothermal activity creating hot springs and natural gas.
  • Paua – an iridescent blue green shell known found on the beach and often made into jewlery elsewhere as abalone

  • Rubbish: Garbage
  • Wool
  • Jandals – flip flops
  • BoganRed neck
  • Op-shopOpportunity shop selling used and secondhand goods
  • Kiwi – a flightliess borwn bird, a fruit, or also used to describve someone from New Zealand.  The Kiwi bird is endemic to NZ and the national symbol.  Because they are endangered, they are rare to see
  • Chemist – pharmacy
  • Footpath – sidewalk
  • Eftop – debit card

Food and Drink

  • Kai – mauri word for food or eating, a feed
  • Chippies – potato chips
  • Cuppaa hot ‘cup of’ drink of coffee or tea
  • IDs –  International travelers need to show their passport as a form of ID when purchasing alcohol or getting into bars or clubs.
  • Burger King – it is the real Burger King, not Hungry Jacks
  • Dunkin Donuts, Wendys, Starbucks – Thanks America for making these chains worldwide
  • No Goon: The boxes of wine are reasonably priced and not the cheap statement drink
  • Skrumpy: This is the cheap drink.  A cider drink in either apple, pear or boysencideder.  It’s less than$10 for 1.25L  of drink in a plastic bottle.
  • McDonalds – They don’t have 30 cent cones, instead they are 70 – quite the splurge but worth it with free wifi.  They also have lamb burgers

  • Fish and chips – pronounced fush ‘n chups
  • Chooks – chicken
  • Pies – They make a lot of savory pies filled with meat.  They are small and made for an indivudal serving
  • Kiwi – A yummy fruit that is sold cheap here.  It is fun to eat with the spoon knife combo utensil
  • Pavlova – desert, a baked meringue cake topped with cream and fruit
  • Hokey pokey ice cream – ice cream popularly made by Tip-Top with a crunchy honey comb toffee
  • Sushi – In Australia, the whole roll was sold for less than $2 and it wasn’t sliced.  Here, they have lots of sushi stands too but they are sold by the slice.  Soy Sauce still comes in a little plastic fish
  • takeaway – to go meal
  • Countdown – the supermarket.  It has the same W symbol as Woolworths.


  • All Blacks – Rugby Team see stats
  • Rivalry with Australia – Kiwis like to poke fun at the australians following a competitive nature  that they know they are behind in.  It’s all in good humor and there is no political tention or anything else
  • Backpacking: there are a lot of people living this lifestyle – both New Zealanders travelling within the country and international people.  People come from overseas with a 2 year work looking to do anything even fruitpicking.  They stay at the hostels (post to come)
  • Maori: the indigenous population of New Zealand.  They have their own traditions and language
  • Tramping: hiking.  Bush walks are really popular because of the beautiful landscapes
  • Lord of the Rings:  Middle earth isn’t exactly based on New Zealand but it was filmed around the island.  Mount Doom was filmed at Mt. Tongoriro where we hiked!  People in Wellington are going Hobbit-crazy.  Their airport has a huge sculpture and people walk are psyched for the premiere.
  • Haka: the traditional Maori war dance, the All Blacks rugby team performs it before games
  • Exchange rate: The US dollar has a better exchange rate to the New Zealand dollar.  Currently, the US dollar equals about 1.2 NZD.