87 New Zealand Slang Words and How to Use Them
Last Updated on October 27, 2023
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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!
This is why I’m going to teach you some common New Zealand slang words, 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 words, Maori phrases and Maori slang used in everyday life, and even (it turns out) a few popular terms from the UK.
Also for reference the Maori langauge is called ‘Te Reo’ in Maori.
From funny Kiwi sayings and New Zealand slang terms to Kiwi slang meaning, NZ slang phrases and other Kiwi lingo, there are New Zealand words and phrases for every person in almost every situation.
If you’re visiting the land of the long white cloud, then make sure you bookmark this page and test out some of these words while you’re travelling New Zealand.
This list of Kiwi slang are used widely around the country from the South Island to the North Island but there are some really local slang words that certain regions use so if you come accross any on your travels that I don’t mention here, make sure you comment them below.
Here’s a complete guide on New Zealander 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. New Zealand terms like this 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. Bugger is classic Kiwi farmer slang and I hear it many times as a from my Dad growing up on a sheep farm.
This NZ slang is basically a curse word, but a very light one at that.
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, or 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.
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7. The wops – “He lives out in the wops”
This is one of the funny New Zealand 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”
Sometimes there are Kiwi slang phrases that are a bit flexible. 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 colourful expression basically means when something is easy, and is both slang for New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
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”
One of the more direct slang words in New Zealand, this is used when someone is enthusiastic about something.
18. Jandals – “Don’t wear sneakers, wear your jandals”
In other words flip flops, thongs (Australian slang) 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.
It’s one of the more versatile New Zealand expressions.
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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 7 million views where he used this most unusual of kiwi expressions.
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. Hopefully it won’t become one of the more common Kiwi phrases in your vocabulary!
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!
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 hot chips” “Aw maaaaate”
Sometimes Kiwi words and phrases are complicated, and sometimes they’re just “Maaaate!”
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”
What would the world be like without some good old New Zealand swear words?
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, and is one of the most common New Zealand slang phrases.
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.
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Need some New Zealand slang for a party?
35. Scull – “Scull it now!”
In other countries, you probably yell “drink” instead of scull when someone is downing a drink. In New Zealand, we yell “scull, scull, scull”.
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.
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 wop 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”.
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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!
57. Legend – “What a bloody legend”
In New Zealand, if someone is a good person or does something good, we often refer to them as a legend.
For example, let’s say your friend gets you a treat from the diary, you could say “Wow, what a legend!” to them and this would be a sort of thank you.
58. Arvo – “I’ll come round this arvo”
‘Arvo’ is ‘afternoon’ for short. You may notice Kiwis will shorten their words quite a lot because let’s face it, who has the time to say full-length words these days?
59. Tiki Tour – “Let’s go for a tiki tour”
Tiki Tour is New Zealand slang for when you go on a NZ road trip but go the long way around OR you’re going for a drive (or walk) with no real purpose.
You’re just going on a casual tiki tour around the neighbourhood!
This is one of my favourite New Zealand phrases and makes me instantly think of home.
60. Legit – “Is this really legit bro?”
Again this is another NZ slang word that is just a short word from the actual word ‘legitimate’. I have seen many countries like Australia, the UK and the USA use this slang word too so it’s not only a Kiwi one!
61. Marnus – “He’s being a marnus”
If someone is being annoying or a ‘dick’ then feel free to call them a marnus! Other ways you could use this could be ‘What a marnus’ or ‘Stop being a marnus bro’.
62. Fulla – “What a stink fUlla”
The word fella is used in many countries around the world, however, when you arrive in New Zealand, Kiwis say it with a slightly different tone. Fulla is just another word for man.
63. Oi – “Oi, come here”
Oi is often a calling word for when you’re trying to get someone’s attention whether you know them or not.
Although if you’re saying this to someone you don’t know it can come off as aggressive or negative and considered one of the top New Zealand Slang insults
64. Bomb – “That’s bomb”
Bomb is another word for cool, awesome or great. If something looks or tastes good, then it’s ‘bomb’.
65. Sweet – “nah, I’m sweet thanks”
Sweet is just another word for good. This is very similar to how we would use sweet as but by now, you’ve learned that Kiwis LOVE to shorten things!
66. Flat out – “I can’t come to the party, I’m flat out right now”
The word ‘Flat-out’ is used when you or someone is super busy. It usually means that they don’t have time for something or right now they have no time for a break because they are super busy.
67. Dodgy – “Hmm, That sounds a bit dodgy to me”
Dodgy is used nearly worldwide but it IS used a lot in New Zealand to describe something that doesn’t seem legitimate or legal.
For example, let’s say that your mate has a wife and kids but doesn’t come home until 5 a.m. every night – now that’s a bit dodgy.
68. C*unt – “He’s a good c*nt”
The word c*unt is used for good in NZ (most of the time). I know that it is uber offensive in America but in New Zealand and Australia it’s usually used as a compliment.
C*unt is comparable to ‘ fulla’ or person. So if you’re from the USA and someone calls you this in a nice tone then don’t be offended, they are complimenting you!
Although it can be a good word it is still considered one of the biggest Kiwi swear words.
69. Chuddy – “Can I have a piece of cuddy?”
Chuddy is short for chewing gum. Now that I’m in my 30’s, I rarely use this but this New Zealand slang word used to be very popular when I was in high school and with the younger generation.
70. Maccas – “Let’s go get some Maccas’
Maccas is a shortened word for McDonald’s. You may also hear a similar version ‘Maccy D’s’ which also means the same thing!
71. Bach – “Let’s rent out a bach for the weekend”
This is less of a NZ slang word and more of just a different word that we use to describe a beach house. So if you’re visiting any of the beautiful New Zealand beaches then make sure you book a bach!
72. Turps – “She’s been on the turps”
Had too much alcohol? Your friend Shelly drank too many cruisers last night? That my friend means that you (or Shelly) have been on the turps and maybe drunk a wee bit much!
Turps is just another way to say alcohol.
73. Crook – “Today I feel too crook to work”
Crook is slang for feeling sick or unwell.
74. Ratbag – “Suzy is being such a ratbag”
Ratbag is a Kiwi insult that is often used to call someone a brat. It’s not a super offensive word and is mainly used to describe children when they play up.
75. Barbie – “Put some more meat on the barbie”
No, I don’t mean the doll, a barbie is short for barbeque. This slang word is used in not only New Zealand but also in Australia as well. Having a Barbie MUST be on your New Zealand food bucket list.
76. Guttered – “I feel so guttered right now’
The New Zealand slang word ‘Guttered’ usually means that you’re really sad or disappointed by something. For example, when the supermarket runs out of your favourite drink or when your friend cancels on you last minute.
77. Stoked – “I’m so stoked right now”
This is totally opposite to the word above! If you’re feeling happy or excited about something, you’d be ‘stoked about it’.
78. Tramp – “Let’s go for a tramp tomorrow”
Tramp is another word for a hike.
79. Missus – “I have to check with the missus”
Missus is a word for wife, girlfriend or partner. It’s basically Mrs but we use it for all fo the stages of a relationship, not just if someone is married.
80. Yonks – “I haven’t seen you in yonks”
Yonks is New Zealand slang for a long time. For example, if something is taking a while or if you haven’t seen or done something in a while.
81. Far out – “Far out, there’s no way!”
Far out is not a way to describe something that’s a long way but instead, it’s more of a reaction word if someone tells you something shocking or something happens that was not expected.
82. Sammie – “Can you please make me a sammie?”
Sammie is short for sanwich!
83. Smoko – “I’m going out for a smoko”
This is a slang word that is most popular during work hours. A smoko is when someone goes on a cigarette break.
Sunnies is short for sunglasses. Honestly, I don’t think I have EVER used the word sunglasses in my life thinking about it.
85. Saussie – “Let’s go to Mitre 10 for a saussie’
Okay, this example sentence needs a bit of explaining. Saussie is short of sausage BUT it’s actually used in a couple of different ways.
Of course, a sausage is a sausage but in New Zealand (and Australia) outside of popular DIY stores like Mitre 10 and Bunnings, it’s very common for there to be barbeque that a school group or charity is running to raise money for something.
In New Zealand this barbeque is called a ‘sausage sizzle’ and it’s where you can buy a saussie in a piece of bread with onion and tomato sauce for $1 or $2.
So Kiwis make also say ‘Let’s go get a saussie’ and what they mean is go to Mitre 10 to the sausage sizzle.
86. Cuppa – “I would love a cuppa’
Cuppa is a New Zealand slang word for either a hot cup of coffee or tea.
87. Op Shop – “Do you wanna go down to the Op Shop later?”
An op shop is slang for an opportunity shop or thrift shop.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you think something is cool, the correct New Zealand slang term is “skux”, as in, “that’s skux, bro”.
Meaning hello, good morning, take care and even good luck, saying hello in Kiwi slang is as easy as “Kia Ora!”
Unlike their Australian neighbours, Kiwis are more likely to say “She’ll be right” than “no worries” to mean that everything is OK.
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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