Tramping in the Wop-Wops… And Other Kiwi Lingo

New Zealand does speak English, but even a native English speaker like me can have a bit of trouble when it comes to understanding Kiwi’s when they speak.  Not only do they have accents, which are lovely by the way, they also use words that we simply don’t use in the US.  I’ve made a compilation of words and phrases I’ve heard/learned while in New Zealand so far. Feel free to use this post as help for your future travels to New Zealand, or simply for amusement!  I personally find it fun to attempt an accent while saying these words/phrases out loud to myself!

We will start with some of the easy and more common words and phrases.  These are pretty easy to understand, and sometimes used in the US as well:

Kiwi: a person from New Zealand

Mate: friend, buddy, pal, etc.

No worries: not a problem. People often say this to me when I say ‘thank you’

Bro: pronounced like ‘brew’ this means bro or good friend

Tomato Sauce: Ketchup

Some words or phrases I’ve heard in New Zealand I would have no idea what they meant unless someone told me.  Here are some examples:

Tramping: hiking

Wop-Wops: basically means the middle of nowhere

Togs: swimsuit

Jandals: sandals or flip flops

Dairy: corner store or convenience store

Sweet as: cool, awesome, no problem, etc.

She’ll be right: no problem, it’s fine

Choice: good, cool

Yeah nah: probably not, ummmm, etc. An indecisive way to say something.

So those are some of the key words and phrases I’ve heard a lot while in New Zealand.  I still get thrown off by them sometimes, but it helps knowing what a person is trying to say when you’re not familiar with a word!  Thanks for reading!


Good links for more NZ slang:


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