Let me set the scene: You arrive in New Zealand and overhear this conversation:

“Tramping in jandals was so dodgy mate; I was out in the Wop-Wops for holiday and almost broke my foot!”

Confused? Although they speak English, if you don’t know the New Zealand lingo, it might sound like a foreign language to you.

Here are some common words and favorite phrases used by the Kiwi’s that will help you fit in and sound like a native on your trip!

Dodgy: Sketchy, dysfunctional

Heaps: Tons, a lot of

Biscuit: Cookie

Mate: Friend

Sweet As: Awesome! Cool!

  • Example: “I got a present from my sister today!” “Aw, sweet as, man!”

Porridge: Oatmeal

Crisps: Chips

Chips: French Fries

Milkshake: Flavored milk (If you want an American Milkshake, ask for a thickshake, with very little milk)

Jelly: Jell-o

Tomato Sauce: Ketchup (they say tomato like “toe-mat-oh”)

Dairy: Grocery store or corner store

Papers: Classes or courses

Holiday: Vacation

Kia Ora: Hello, Welcome, Thank you

Jandals: Flip Flops

Tramping: Hiking

Eh: Literally how all questions end

  • Example: The weather’s nice today eh?

Wop-Wops: Middle of nowhere

Yeah, nah bro: indecisive phrase


Next time you’re talking to a kiwi you’ll sound like a native when you grab heaps of biscuits and tomato sauce at the dairy before you go tramping with your mates in the wop-wops! Enjoy your time in New Zealand!

xx Nicole #DoStuff

Check out my other tips for New Zealand:

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  1. […] Language: English is the dominant language spoken here, although you may hear a few Maori words thrown into conversation like “Kia Ora” (welcome, hello) or “whānau” (family). Kiwi slang and unique sayings might also have you a little confused so check out this article for some helpful tips. 20 things people from New Zealand say […]

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