56 New Zealand Slang Words and How to Use it Like a Kiwi
Last Updated on September 1, 2021
New Zealand slang can be quite hard to understand especially on top of our fast and harsh sounding accent. Sometimes it can seem like Kiwi English is an entirely separate language! Which is why I’m going to teach you some common New Zealand phrases and lingo!
This Kiwi slang can be found just about anywhere, even in the likes of fancy restaurants and hotels. It includes some Maori phrases and Maori slang used in everyday life, and even (it turns out) a few terms popular from the UK.
Here’s a complete guide on New Zealand slang and how to use it like a real Kiwi! It may look complicated but trust me once you get the hang of it, it’s easy as bro.
Let’s talk like a Kiwi! Here are some New Zealand slang words!
1. Eh – “It was cloudy this morning eh?”
This is one of the classic New Zealand slang words is one that can be added onto just about every sentence you can think of.
2. Yeah nah – “Do you want a vanilla ice cream? “Yeah nah, I’ll be right.”
Kiwis say this when they are a little indecisive on what the heck they are trying to say.
3. Bugger all – “How much money you got? Bugger all.”
This is used when you have nothing left. I was surprised to also hear this Kiwi slang used in the UK.
4. Bugger – *Something goes wrong* “Bugger!”
You can use bugger when something goes wrong. It’s mostly heard on a farm. This NZ slang is basically a curse word.
5. Chur – “Here’s a drink” “Chur”
Wondering what does chur mean? Well, this word can be slapped around in many different ways. Sometimes the chur meaning is attached to another word or used by itself. It can mean sweet, awesome, yeah, good, cool, cheers.
6. Bro & cuz – “Chur cuz” or “How’s it going bro?”
Basically means the same thing, and is just asking how are you doing. Although it can, this kiwi slang rarely refers to an actual brother or cousin.
7. The wops – “He lives out in the wops”
This is one of the Kiwi sayings people always find adorable, it means a place in the middle of nowhere or far from anything.
8. Carked it – “Did you know Jimmy carked it the other day?” or “The car carked it”
This is a little depressing, but it is usually used when something or someone dies.
9. Munted – “That guy is munted as” or “I crashed my car and it’s munted”
This kiwi word has two meanings: when something is broken or when someone is drunk.
10. Chocka – “Have you had enough to eat?” “Yeah, I’m chocka block” or “Can you fit this into your car?” “Nah, it’s chocka”
This is used when something or someone is full. Not always, but sometimes we add ‘block’ at the end of this New Zealand slang.
11. Sus – “He looks a bit sus” or “That’s a bit sus”
When a situation or someone is particularly suspicious.
12. Piece of piss – “Can you build this Lego man for me? “Yeah, it’s a piece of piss”
This basically means when something is easy.
13. She’ll be right – “Are the sausages burning?” “Nah, she’ll be right”
When something is going to be okay or alright. This is one of my favourite New Zealand slang sayings.
14. Taking the piss – “Can you work for a few more hours?” “You’re taking the piss mate”
If you’re being unreasonable then this is usually what you will hear. This is another of the Kiwi sayings I heard used a lot in the UK.
15. Piss/ Piss up – “Can you grab the piss out of the Ute?” or “I’m just going to go take a piss” or “Let’s have a piss-up”
Piss usually referring to either alcohol or urine. The word piss-up refers to a party. As you can tell, ‘piss’ is pretty diverse in Kiwi slang!
16. Stink one – “Did you grab me a pie?” “No” “Aw stink one ”
Uh oh. This is one of the New Zealand sayings you don’t want to hear because it means you have just disappointed someone.
17. Keen – “Do you wanna go to the pools bro?” “Keen”
Used when someone is enthusiastic about something.
18. Jandals – “Don’t wear sneakers, wear your jandals”
In other words flip flops, thongs (Australian) or sandals. Not only are they used for wearing purposes but also used as a weapon if someone has been a dick.
19. Skux – “You look skux today” “Thanks bro”
This NZ slang word has many meanings. The most popular is when someone looks cool or trendy. Sometimes it can be that a person is looking hot.
20. Nek minute – “I was at the dairy, nek minute”
A true New Zealand icon is this guy. He created this famous video which has now had over 3 million views. So nek minute basically means ‘next minute’. This is one of the New Zealand words I use all the time with my Kiwi friends overseas.
21. Mare – “I’m having a mare today”
This means you’re having a difficult time.
22. Pack a sad – “That kid is packing a sad”.
Whatever you do, don’t do this. Packing a sad means you’re basically having a tantrum.
23. Gumboots – Chuck on your gumboots and let’s go on the farm”
Also known as wellingtons or rubber boots. As a kid, one of my favourite songs of all time was the gumboot song!
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24. Beached as – “I can’t get off my bed, I’m beached as bro!”
Referring to the cartoon where a whale is stuck on the beach, it means when you’re stuck somewhere.
25. Maaaate – “I forgot to buy you a bag of chips” “Aw maaaaate”
This has to be said with an extended middle of course, but the normal word is just mate. You would use this NZ slang if you’re a little bit disappointed.
26. Choice – “I got you a pie” “Choice bro!”
Choice means awesome, cool, great, thanks.
27. Dag – “Linda is a dag”
Dag is one of the Kiwi words that has multiple meanings. The official meaning is a piece of old poo hanging from a sheep bum. But if used in Kiwi slang, as in this case, it actually means that something or someone is funny.
28. Hard case – “Oh Sharon, she’s a hard case!”
Hard case is New Zealand lingo for a person who is witty.
29. Hard out / hard – “Karen is so annoying” “Hard out bro”
Hard/hard out is a phrase used when you agree with someone.
Looking for a good Kiwi insult?
30. Egg – “You’re an egg” or “You’re a rotten egg”
You will probably need to watch the movie ‘Boy’ to appreciate how versatile this word is in Kiwi English and how to say it in many different forms. It’s used as an insult toward someone.
31. Good as gold – “Everything is good as gold”.
Means everything is great, sweet, perfect or going great. One of the classic New Zealand slang words!
32. Bloody – “That was a bloody great night out, wasn’t it?”
This word is stereotypically British, so you might be surprised to learn that is a very common New Zealand phrase, too. Bloody is put into any old sentence.
33. Tu meke / too much – “I got you a pie” “Too much bro”
Tu meke is one of the a Maori phrases on the list. It is Maori for too much. It’s not used as you might have thought. It means awesome or good job.
34. Yarn – “Stop spinning a yarn” or “That was a good yarn”
Yarn is NZ slang for a story or talking bull.
Need some Kiwi slang for a party?
35. Skull – “Skull it now!”
In other countries, you probably yell “drink” instead of skull when someone is downing a drink. In New Zealand, we yell “skull, skull, skull”. So if you hear someone yelling that in a bar, don’t worry they haven’t just found a dead body, it’s just some Kiwi drinking slang.
36. Chilly bin – “The drinks are in the chilly bin bro!”
This is a bin where you keep your drinks called. Also known as a cooler bin or in Australia it’s an esky.
37. Hungus – “Stop being a hungus!”
This refers to someone who loves food a lot.
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38. Gizza – “Can you gizza drink bro?”
This is word is short for ‘give me’. It is very common in Kiwi English for multiple words to be shortened this way.
39. No worries – “Thanks for that!” “No worries cuz”
This means no problem! If someone helps you and you say thank you they will usually reply ‘no worries’.
40. Not even ow – “Jack went to Jail” “Not even ow”
I’m not sure I can really translate the meaning of this unique New Zealand phrase as it simply is what it says. You might use this term if you are a bit surprised. ‘Ow’ is a term for you or someone. It can be added to just about any sentence and still make sense to a Kiwi.
41. Yeah right – “Johns got a girlfriend” “Yeah right!”
A classic NZ saying that is apparent on Tui billboards. You can say this to someone if you don’t really believe what they are saying (Tui is an NZ beer). This is one of the New Zealand slang words you will hear a lot!
42. Bowl round – “I’m going to bowl round to your house” “Chur bro”.
It literally has nothing to do with Bowls being round, in true Kiwi slang style. It means when someone is coming around to visit.
43. Long drop – “Just got to go use the long drop”
A long drop is a Kiwi term for an outhouse or an outside toilet with no flushing system. Commonly found in campgrounds and out in the wops.
44. Heaps – “I have heaps of piss bro!”
New Zealanders use this word like it’s going out of fashion. Heaps means lots.
45. Togs – “I’m just gonna go get my togs on”
This is one of the NZ slang words I always get funny looks for. When a Kiwi refers to togs they mean swimming costume, swimmers or bathing costume.
46. All good – “I forgot to wear pants today” “That’s all good bro, I understand.”
Basically means what it says. You would use this if something is all good or it can mean that’s okay too.
47. Mean as – “I got this lollipop for free!” “That’s mean as!”
This means sweet, great, cool. Refers to something being awesome.
48. Crack up –“ I got a fine for stealing a piece of grass off my neighbour’s lawn” “That’s a crack up!”
Instead of saying that is funny you could just use the iconic New Zealand slang words ‘crack up’.
49. Straight up – “Are you being straight up?”
This word can actually mean two things. Either you’re telling the truth (being straight up) or you’re agreeing with someone like you would say “absolutely”.
50. Wanna hiding – “Wanna hiding bro?!”
This is one of the Kiwi phrases you never want to hear. If someone comes up to you on the street in New Zealand and asks this, it does NOT mean they want to play hide and go seek. It means they want to know if you want to fight them.
51. Sweet as- “This road trip is sweet as”
This phrase is probably the most common NZ slang phrase. This can be used to describe something OR as a response. Let’s say someone says they are going to be late meeting you, in response to that I would probably say something like sweet as.
52. Squizz – . “Can I have a squizz at your new kitchen?”
I’ve been told this is a very odd word in Kiwi English, and I have to agree! This means to have a quick look.
53. Ta – “Here’s a sandwich” “Ta”
It simply means thanks.
54. Pakaru – “Mum, the TV is Pakaru!”
Another of the Maori phrases commonly used throughout New Zealand. This Maori word is often used when something is broken.
55. Stubbies – “Chuck your stubbies on, we’re heading to the beach for a day out!”
One of my favourite Kiwi slang words is stubbies! It’s another word for short shorts and they’re usually especially hard on the eye if men wear them.
56. Dairy – “Let’s go to the dairy and grab a pie!”
The dairy is also a corner store where you can grab snacks, a mince and cheese pie and just about anything else you need!
As long as you have these Kiwi slang words sorted you can start talking like the locals! Just don’t ask them to say the sentence ‘my deck is very slippery’. You may get a hiding. Tell me below what is your favourite New Zealand slang words. Do you think you can master Kiwi English before your visit?
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Love it! I would also add Dairy, Dear (for expensive), and packed a shit
I’ve recently been speaking with a gentleman who calls me dear all the time. When you say expensive, what do you mean? I love talking with him!!
“Those pies at the bakery were dear as eh?”
“Yeah bro, they’re way cheaper at the dairy.”
“Those (meat & pastry) pies we purchased from the bakery were rather expensive weren’t they?”
“Yes my friend, they are less expensive to buy from the local corner store.”
“Dear” in this instance refers to an item that costs a lot, as opposed to meaning a person who is lovely or means a lot to someone.
This is brilliant. Well done.
Hilarious! I’m going to start testing these out on my Kiwi colleague. He will probably give me a weird look.
Michael Hurst> shannonelizabeth
Amazing how many we use in the UK
That’s where most of them originated.
Ka Pai that read was mean as bae lol
Could prolly do a whole list of how to use Chur, very versatile word that one 🙂
Elaine J Masters
Great phrases. I wish I’d had the courage to try some when I was there.
Hah! This made me laugh so hard! I didn’t realize how many hilarious slang phrases New Zealand has. My favorite is “stink one.” Maybe I’ll import it to Boston 🙂
Gidday. Very entertaining. Almost a different language entirely, eh? I loove the scenery in NZ and the fush and chups are pretty good too!
Random Kiwi> Christina
No Kiwi says Fush and Chups thats not real
Anita Hendrieka> Random Kiwi
As a Kiwi, I agree, but apparently with our accent that’s how people here us haha!
GrahamK> Random Kiwi
Yes you do!!!!!!!!!!!
Bailey> Random Kiwi
It’s Feesh and cheeps, bro.
In Aussie lingo.
Hey Chrees, go and buy me some fair dinkum feesh and cheeps.
And while your at it, Chuck on some thongs , grab the esky and grab some shreemps for the barby!
Faz> Random Kiwi
Kia Or Bro, Yeah nah lol never heard it either even saying it myself clearly “Fish”
This us great. Awesome post. I love learning new things and this will be great for the day I head to New Zealand
Pretty useful list! The sayings are pretty hilarious!!
hard out so diffrent to america
Too funny–I love hearing slang words from different parts of the world! Yeah nah and stink one are a couple of my favorites from this list!!
Faz> Jenna Kvidt
39yrs old never heard anyone ever say Stink One, just Stink 🙂
English is already complicated on its simplest form… Then comes the slangs from English speaking countries like NZ 😀 Pretty good to start with all these though, I won’t be completely lost whenever I speak with a Kiwi!
Anita Hendrieka> evan kristine
Haha Us Kiwis like to make it difficult 😉
Love slang, especially the difference in all the versions of English. Like the use of the word “piss”. Not something us Americans use much of.
Anita Hendrieka> Megan MacNee
It’s like learning another language 😉
Colin> Megan MacNee
Kiwi usage of the word “piss”:
Piss (1) = Urinate. To piss somewhere, have a piss, take a piss, pissed your
Piss (2) = Alcohol, usually beer.
Pissed = Very drunk.
Pissing down = Raining heavily.
Pissed off = Annoyed.
Piss up = Party, often for no other reason than to drink loads of piss.
Piss off = Go away.
Pissing about = Wasting time.
Pisshead = Person who likes to drink a lot.
Seems similar to UK and Aussie slang too? Thanks for sharing this!!
Anita Hendrieka> Carla
Yes, some of it is very similar to Aussie slang!
Krystle Anderson> Carla
I was going to say the same thing. Most of these is what us Aussies say.
Jo> Krystle Anderson
exactly! I counted more than 20 that are common to Aus and NZ.
In NZ, I keep hearing people say ‘Awesome’ meaning ‘that’s good’ or ‘I agree’.
You could add terms like
feeling crook = ill
pack a sad = very upset
bonza = really good
chunder = vomit
up-chuck = vomit
he spat his dummy = being angry in a childish way
ropable = so angry you can’t do anything with them
Last summer, I was in Ireland, and asked a fellow traveler a question. In one word, she told me that she was a New Zealander. She said “Yeeeis”
A retired professor of English used to have a ‘Listener’ column in which people could ask him questions about New Zealand English. Someone asked him about the word ‘bach’, meaning a small cottage for the weekend, usually on a beach. This word defeated him. While traveling in Wales, I discovered the origin of the word ‘bach’ . It’s Welsh for ‘small’
Yes, I’m a Kiwi, originally from Shake City (Christchurch) but living in London for many years
Tyler> Paul Standeven
hahahaha! Shake city? I love it!! A much better name than Christchurch!! I think I’m going to call it that from now on!!
Ramona Bruce> Paul Standeven
Why is Christchurch called Shake City, please?
This was a fun article and comments to read.
Anita Hendrieka> Ramona Bruce
In 2011 Christchurch had a couple of big quakes which destroyed the city 🙁
Ah yea it’s a freaking crack up mate, I lived there a long time ago and have forgotten a lot of these. Great to remember!!
Marc & Louise Pierce> Tai
Faz> Marc & Louise Pierce
skull also means “a drink”, wanna skull ah?, “yeah” but now we mostly use the maori term “inu” for it. “any inu’s?” or “inu bro?” “yeah shots cuz” when we call you “cuz” (taken from cousin) its to symbolize a friend thats close enough to be called family or is actually your cousin. bail means “gap it” or “get away” mainly used when someone’s annoying you for something you got an they want. say they reach for your drink “bail ah” or a more heard of term we use is “nemine yours” as in never mind yours, but applied in a way that means “you thought”. the word geeze means “a go” or “turn”, “gizza geeze on your game”, “bail ah” simply put “can i have a turn?, nah”. “Safe” is overlooked these days but pretty much means what it means “its okay or all good”. “who’s that shady fulla over there?”, “who the bro? nah he’s safe g” or as an item “hows those drinks cuz?, safe as”, I noticed most our slang is a shortened way to say what we’re meant to, i can’t explain the rest but here some more maybe the urban dictionary can help. nuk, muppet, middy/middux, looks, chinux, rek, yoza
Teenagers often use, “oushh” followed by “we geddit”. I know the meaning for this but I can’t define as I use it so often, but hopefully someone who does know the meaning can define it for me? Churrrr Maori
Faz> maori chiiick
Oooosh I guess would be like rad, awesome, cool?
Well thats how my bros use it lol
Don’t forget “Sweet as”, “mean” “top man” , “legend” , “arvo” , “all good/no worries”
Annie> Sandeep Mohan
Yes! I have a friend from Iraq who was so confused when he got to New Zealand despite being able to speak English fluently. He thought everyone was telling him he had a “sweet ass” haha
Oh and “arvo” means afternoon, e.g. “see ya tomorrow arvo”
we use to use wobbly woo a lot growing up too. This referred to someone throwing a tantrum. That kids throwing a real wobbly, or, that kids throwing a right wobbly woo. Woo meaning a party. Geez is another good one in place of squiz. Give me a geez at that. The on I still use loads today is Rubbish. Meaning full of crap. What you just said was a load of rubbish!
Annie> Scott Kavanagh
Yeap have to say I say geez a lot! My mum always used to say “no need to throw a wobbly over it” or another one: “don’t be a sookie lala” – don’t be so sensitive or don’t throw a tantrum about it etc
should add the word “cunt”
dont worry…”cunt” isnt exactly an offensive word in NZ. cunt can also mean a positive sense.
ie. “hes a clever cunt”.
We kiwis tend to have a more liberal and positive view to the C Word.
Anita Hendrieka> Captain Stubing
Haha oh I was tempted :p
Annie> Anita Hendrieka
“Whatta good cunt!” Haha
Siobhan> Captain Stubing
Working in a hostel in the south of France, a fellow Kiwi colleague was asking me about my late Dad with the question ‘Was he a big cunt?’ to which I replied ‘nah’ but our English manager was so horrified he asked me if I’d realised my father had been called a “cunt”. Enter 3rd Kiwi to explain the nuances of the language.
Btw Anita, beautiful list. Much better than some others I’ve seen. Having lived overseas so long, was a great reminder. Forever stuck having to call kumara a sweet potato – takes too long.
Gidday is Auatralian! Not New Zealand.
Anita Hendrieka> Lee
Yes, Gidday is used in both countries! We do have very similar slang and most of the time, the same 🙂
M Chilcott> Lee
So is arvo and no worries. Never heard them until I went to live in Oz.
My mum and aunty(and now me cos i picked it up) tend to say ‘What are you doing, Ow?’ at literally anyone doing something stupid. also instead of just ‘the wops’ it tends to be dragged out to ‘the wopwops’ and since we live on a farm just out of the area, if someone asks ‘where do you live?’ the answer is typically ‘oh, way out in the wopwops’
Trying to find the phrase -“ur all plaque” meaning ur all rubbish but can’t find anything on it… pretty sure it’s one of ours tho?
Anita Hendrieka> Kylee
Hmm I have actually never heard of this one before! Maybe it’s a phrase that’s used in only a certain region?
Rich> Anita Hendrieka
We used that in horowhenua as kids
Meaning shit, stupid, full of shit..you’re all plaque mate..that’s plaque
These are AWESOME! Love these! I just sent this to my UK friend to learn a bit more about kiwi slang haha.
Just one thing – Skull is “scull” as to scull a drink. I think!
Reagan A> Jamie
That is correct
Thanks for sharing. Quite a few are similar in Oz 🙂
wheres no statement
A lot of these are in use in the UK, too.
Eh, bugger all, bugger, bro, cuz, munted, chock-a-block (chocka), piece of piss, taking the piss, piss-up, having a mare, good as gold, bloody, spinning a yarn, gizza, no worries, yeah right, all good, a hiding, ta, squizz…
…I think the only ones that would confuse me are the Maori ones, which is probably why I like them the most 🙂 Although ‘hard case’ to mean witty is an odd one – I’d assume it meant tough nut to crack, or just plain tough.
Thanks for sharing. I love New Zealand.
Jeeze Wayne. (Jesus your stupid, Wayne) also Ya drongo as in you’re an idiot.
Nice one! Whata choice list!
Gidday is Aussie, never in my life have I heard a kiwi say that unless they were mocking aussie slang.
Sometimes regions are slightly different with their slangs too.
But dont forget
Sweet as which means everything is good
Horsey which means drunk or tipsy
Skiddies means skidmarks
hoope means snot
Relax your undies means calm down
Fulla means person
I live in Auckland and I gidday constantly
I meant I hear gidday constantly sorry.
Sweet as Dude
Ya forgot SWEET AS… unforgivable 😉
Kia Ora can also be used interchangeably as a greeting, a sign of appreciation or a farewell
Up2 “Bae”, you forgot about me? Refs: Wikipedia Bae Kiwi Slang
Who else was really wanted to see chuddy, skint or land waka on the list?
Haha love it! I’ve been away from NZ for 3 years and miss the slang! You left out the most important, and frequently used word: CHEERS! 🙂
Here’s a few more:
Sweet – “Nah, I’m sweet.”
Bugger – “I left my wallet at home.” “Bugger!”
Flat out – “I can’t come, I’m flat out.”
Dodgy – “That fish smells dodgy.”
Cunt – “He’s a good cunt.”
Some NZ words:
Kiwi (New Zealander)
Bach (holiday home)
Caravan (camping trailer)
Car park (parking lot)
Trolley (shopping cart)
Boot (trunk of car)
Wellies (rubber boots)
Tartan (flannel shirt)
Spew (throw up)
Takeaway (fast food)
Pie (savory pot pie)
Chips (french fries)
Capsicum (bell pepper)
Piss up (a party)
Chill drinks (a small gathering)
Cuppa (cup of tea)
Caf (coffee shop)
Op Shop (thrift store)
College (high school)
Bush (native forest)
Scroggin (trail mix)
In the drink (swimming)
In the tip (in the trash/rubbish bin)
Dub-dub-dub (www – start of web address)
Zed (letter z)
Kia Ora, Anita!
I meant, thank you!
Great list! Had a pretty good laugh 🙂 Even though some of these words look similar on paper to those used in other countries, its the way we say them (our accent and intonation) that makes them funny; point-in-case, pakaru. I’m a kiwi and I’ve heard this word all my life but I still crack up every time I hear someone say it.
Also, don’t forget ‘blues’. Haven’t heard it used for a while but it’s used to describe someone who is doing something random or acting a bit strange. “What a blues, ow!” or “that fulla’s pretty blues, aye!?”
‘Fulla’. it means ‘person’. It can be used in a positive or negative context; ‘oi, what a stink fulla! or ‘what a cool fulla’. ‘Oi’ is a word used to get someone’s attention.
Then there’s ‘manu’ or ‘bomb’. It’s used to describe jumping into a body of water and making a big splash.
‘Nongie’ is a way to describe someone who is being stupid; ‘what a nongie, ow!’ (not sure how to spell it but hopefully you catch my drift?)
Man, there’s too many to name! If you want to get a good feel for how to use kiwi slang or find new words, watch anything made by Taika Waititi or the Flight of the Conchords guys. Can’t go wrong there!
Also balls-up or cock-up meaning something has gone seriously wrong. Eg, what a huge balls-up that was.
Nice list! At least about 4-5 of these are Black American slang, and some others is general American slang or variations of it. I could figure out what most of these meant. Kind of similar to howba lot of us talk over here.
*how a lot (not howba – typo)
I think you should add “Legit”, as in legitimate, to infer someone or thing is straight-up on-the-level whatevers.
Maybe that term fell out of favour with the waning of M.C Hammer’s popularity, but I still found myself using it in the comments of kiwi vids on youtube (discussing how “sad” Australian pies are compared to New Zealand’s, a complete absence of “the hot pools”etc)
All Aussie slang. With conservative estimate half a million permanent residents North coast, Queensland, maybe one million living in Australia hardly surprising – never acknowledged by Kiwis.
I always liked “out-of-it.” I remember going back to NZ for a brief visit after being in Europe for a few years and hearing this from a mate: “Yeah, man, he’s an out-of-it c–t!” Also, pretty sure the word “chur” comes from Howard Morrison and his mates. I heard it was a twist on the word “true.”
Don’t be a marnas. (manus? manas?) Not sure how to spell that one.
I hear it all the time but I can’t find anything about it.
“The word piss-up refers to a party. As you can tell, ‘piss’ is pretty diverse in Kiwi slang!” It is pretty common in English as well, as in “He couldn’t organise a piss-up in a brewery.” This describes the highest degree of incompetence in arranging or organising anything, and is not restricted to organising a party. It is also very commonly used in Scotland.