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Kiwi (NZ) to English Dictionary

Kiwi (New Zealand) to English Dictionary.
Have you ever wondered what New Zealander's are talking about? This is your chance to learn. You will notice a lot of Maori terms that are now used in many New Zealander's everyday "kiwitalk" This is our own code to confuse everyone.

Who/what do you think the Kiwi accent sounds like?
Some people from the USA think we sound like Australians, but the Australian's definitely can tell the difference between Kiwis and their own kind and we can tell their nasel sound from across the other side of a pub anywhere in the world. Calling a Kiwi an Aussie is like calling a Scotsman an English or a Canadian an American. Some people think we even sound English or South African.
Most just can't understand us at all, we all talk to fast, good on ya.

Let's clear up some misunderstandings
This New Zealand Kiwi to English Dictionary should clear up any mistakes that get made out there on your travels.


ACC - Accident Compensation Commission.
Ads - TV commercials, adverts
A & P Show - Usually a 3 or 4 day event where farmers strut their stuff and win prizes for best cow, largest onion, best pikelet etc. Often has sideshows for the townies, with ferris wheels, dodgems and such like. (A&P = Agricultural & Pastoral)
Agro - Aggressive / aggression
American hotdog  Hotdog.
ANZAC - Australian and New Zealand Army Corps; every town in New Zealand has a memorial to ANZAC casualties from both world wars.
Aotearoa - Maori for New Zealand, the land of the long white cloud.
Ariki - Supreme chief of an iwi.
Arse / Ass - Rear end, butt, or 'a fool'.
Aussie - Australian



Bach - (Pronounced "batch") Holiday home, originally a bachelor pad at work camps and now something of a Kiwi institution that can be anything from shack to palatial waterside residence.
Back blocks  Remote areas. See "Wop wops"
Banger - Sausage
Barbie - Barbecue
Better-half - Wife or 'other-half' 
Beaut - Great; good fun; "that'll be beaut mate"
Biddy-bid - A burr-bearing bush (from Maori 'piripiri').
Bit of a dag - Hard case; comedian; joker
Biscuit - Cookie
Blat - Travel at great speed.
Bloke -  Usually a man, and often used when referring to a stranger as in; "There's this bloke down the road who sells greasies from his pie-cart for $1 a bag, which is much cheaper than that bloke who has a shop", or used when referring to someone you like, as in; "That bloke, Joe Blow, is a really nice guy once you get to know him".
Blow me down - Expression of surprise, as in; "Well! Blow me down, I didn't know that."
Bludge - To sponge off others; as in "dole bludger". Someone who doesn't pull their weight or pay their way, a sponger.
Bob's your Uncle - Roughly translates to 'there ya go - that's all there is to it!' Just press this big red button that says 'Launch Missile', and "Bob's your uncle".
Boomer - Excellent.
Bog - Toilet
Bonk - Sexual intercourse
Bonnet - Car hood
Boohai - Awry; out of the way non-existant place. As in "up the boohai shooting pukeko's with a long-handled shovel": said in response to "Where are you going?", and meaning either "Mind your own business" or "I'm just wandering around". Or "up the boohai" (out of place; awry)
Boot - Car trunk
Bro - Brother, term of endearment widely used by Maori.
Bugger - (!) Exclamation, close to 'Oh, darn!'
Buggered - Exhausted.
Bum - Butt / rear end.
Bun in the oven - Pregnant.
Bush - Forest or scrub wilderness.
Bust a gut - Make an intense effort.



Candyfloss - Cotton candy.
Capping - University graduation ceremony.
Captain Cooker -Wild pig, probably descended from pigs released in the Marlborough Sounds on Cook's first voyage.
Cheeky - Humorously impertinent.
Chilly bin - Portable insulated cooler box.
Chippy - Carpenter.
Chips - French fries.
Choc-a-block - Completely full.
Chocolate Fish - Chocolate coated marshmellow Also frequently given (literally or figuratively) as a reward for a job well done; as in "Good on ya, mate. You deserve a chocolate fish".
Chook -Chicken.
Choice -Fantastic.
Chuddy -Chewing gum, also "chutty".
Cockie -Farmer, as in 'cow cockie' 
Chuffed - Very pleased.
Chunder - Throw up.
Clippie - Train conductor.
Cods wollop - Untrue statement or remark is referred to as a "load of lod cods wollop".
Colly wobbles - A feeling of nausea usually associated with nervousness; as in "bungee jumping gave me a dose of the colly wobbles".
Coaster -(Ex-) resident of the West Coast of the South Island.
Cocky -Farmer, comes in "Cow" and "Sheep" variants.
Crib -South Island name for a bach.
Crook -Sick unwell or broken. Cuz or Cuzzy - Short for cousin, see "bro".
College - High school, not university.
Couch - Sofa.
Crayfish - Edible lobster - like saltwater crustacean.
Creek - Stream.


Dag - Humorous person.
Dairy - Small shop that sells dairy products and other incidentals.
Dear - Expensive.
Dole - Unemployment benefit.
Doughnut - Kind of cake filled with cream and jam, not an American donut.
Dally -Semi-derogatory name for descendants of Dalmatian immigrants from the Balkans.
Dob in -Reporting one's friends and neighbours to the police; there is currently a dobber's charter encouraging drivers to report one another for dangerous driving.
Docket -Receipt.
Domain -Grassy reserve, open to the public.
Dreaded lurgy - Alternative name for the flu or a head cold; used as an excuse for not going to work, as in "I can't come in today because I have the dreaded lurgy".
Dressing gown - Bathrobe.
Dummy - Baby pacifier.
Dunny - Toilet.
Duster - Blackboard eraser.
Duvet - Comforter on bed.
Dux - Academically top student in final year high school class.


Eh - Pronounced as you would the letter "a". Mostly used as a substitute for "what?" or "pardon?" but also used at the end of sentences like "Don't you think?" but also as "Aren't you?". For example "You gonna go out to the pub on Friday, eh?" or "That looks better, eh?". But mostly used as a response to a question that wasn't understood or heard properly.
Electric puha - Home-grown Marajuana. Taken from the Maori, puha meaning watercress.
Entree - Appetizer, not main course.
Enzed - New Zealand, i.e. N.Z.


Fagged out - See 'knackered'.
Fancy - Hanker after somebody.
Fanny - Take care how you use this phrase in New Zealand! A "fanny" refers to female genetalia; fanny is not the same as bottom!
Felt-tip pen - Marker pen.
Filled roll - Sub sandwich.
Film - Movie.
Fizzy drink - Soda pop, i.e. carbonated soft drink.
Fizz boat -Small powerboat.
Flicks -Cinema, movie theatre.
Footie -Rugby, usually union rather than league, never soccer.
Flash - Sensational or "that's flash" meaning it looks really good.
Flat - Apartment.
Flat out - Full speed.
Flat Stick- Full Speed. Flatmate - Someone you share a flat with.
Flog - Steal, nick.
Floor it - Accelerate fast. See 'rark it'.
Form 1 - Form 7 - Grades at intermediate and secondary school
Fortnight - Two consecutive weeks.
Freezing works - Meat-processing factory.
Frock - Dress.


Gander - Look.
Gidday - Hello.
Going bush - To take off into the bush.
Good nick - Good condition.
Grotty - Run-down / worn-out / dirty.
Give it a burl -Try it.
Godzone -New Zealand, short for "God's own country".
Gorse in your pocket -To be slow to pay your share.
Good as (gold) -First rate, excellent.
Good on ya -Expression of approbation or encouragement, frequently appended with "mate".
Greasies -Takeaway food, especially fish and chips.
Greenstone -A type of nephrite jade known in Maori as pounamu.
Gumboots - Rubber boots (Wellingtons). 
Gummies - Gumboots


Hard yakka - Hard work.
Hard case - Wicked personality or amusing.
Heaps - Lots, as in "give it heaps".
Herb - Is pronounced "herb", not "erb". Could refer to either Marajuana or the kitchen variety.
Haka -Maori dance performed in threatening fashion before All Black rugby games.
Handle -Large glass of beer.
Hangi -Maori feast cooked in an earth oven .
Hapu -Maori sub-tribal unit. Several make up an iwi.
Hard case -See "dag".
Hard yacker -Hard work.
Hollywood -A faked or exaggerated sporting injury used to gain advantage.
Hongi -Maori greeting, performed by pressing noses together.
Hoon -Lout, yob or delinquent.
Hori -Offensive word for a Maori.
Hui -Maori gathering or conference.
Hire - Rent.
Hokey-pokey - An ice-cream flavor.
Holiday - Vacation.
Hooray - Goodbye.
Hotdog - Corndog.


Ice block - Popsicle.
Iwi -Largest of Maori tribal groupings.
Intermediate school - junior-high school


Jandals - Flip-flops, (in Australia they are Thongs) like sandals but without the ankle strap.
Jelly - Jello.
Jersey - Sweater.
Jug - Kettle or Litre of beer.
Jungle Jim - Playground.
Jumper - Sweater.


Kindy - Kindergarten.
Kiwi - New Zealander or flightless bird native to New Zealand, NOT Kiwifruit.
Knackered - Exhausted.
Knickers - Underwear / panties.
Kumara - Sweet potato. Kai -Maori word for food, used in general parlance.
Kaimoana -Seafood.
Karanga -Call for visitors to come forward on a marae.
Kaumatua -Maori elders, old people.
Kawa-Marae -Etiquette or protocol on a marae.
Kete -Traditional basket made of plaited flax that is seeing something of a resurgence in popularity.
Kiore -Polynesian rat.
Koha -Donation.
Kia Ora -Gidday or Hello. 
Kohanga Reo -Pre-school Maori language immersion (literally "language nest").
Kuri -Polynesian dog, now extinct.


L&P - Fizzy drink, Lemon & Paeroa (L&P), kinda lemony but quentiessentially Kiwi.
Lift - Elevator.
Local rag - Local newspaper.
Lolly - Sweet.
Long drop - Outdoor toilet built over a hole in the ground.
Loo - Toilet.
Lounge - Living room.
Lounge suite - Sofa.


Maori - Indigenous people of New Zealand.
Marajuana - Weed, Marihuana, Marawhana, Marijana, Gunja. As in "Do you want to have a smoke man?"
Mate � Friend.
Milo - Hot chocolate drink very popular in New Zealand. Staple hot drink as you grow up as a child (and have as an adult :-)
Mince - Ground beef.
Mana -Maori term indicating status, esteem, prestige or authority, and in wide use among all Kiwis.
Manaia -Stylized bird or lizard forms used extensively in Maori carving.
Manchester -Linen section of a department store and its contents.
Missus - Wife as in 'the missus won't let me out' 
Manuhiri -Guest or visitor, particularly to a marae.
Maoritanga -Maori culture and custom, the Maori way of doing things.
Marae -Literally "courtyard" but much more. Place for conducting ceremonies in front of a meeting house. Also a general term for a settlement centred on the meeting house.
Mauri -Life force or life principle.
Mere -War club, usually of greenstone.
Metalled -Graded road surface of loose stones found all over rural New Zealand.
MMP -Mixed member proportional representation - New Zealand's new electoral system.
Moko -Old form of tattooing on body and face that has seen a resurgence among Maori gang members.
Morning tea - A short break from work in the morning.
Motorway - Freeway.
Mountain oysters - Testicles from castrated lambs.
Mr. Whippy - Van that sells ice-cream.
Mum - Mom.


Naff off - get lost!
Nana - Grandmother.
Nappy - Diaper.
Netball - Basketball-like sport played by women.
Nick - Steal.
Ngati -Tribal prefix meaning the descendants or people of. Also Ngai and Ati.
No fear -Expression indicating refusal or disagreement.
Nuts - Crazy.


O.E. - Overseas Experience - a prolonged period travelling / working / vacationing.
Oz - Australia.


Paddock - Field.
Panel beater - Automobile body shop.
Paper - Class / Unit that you take at university.
Petrol - Gasoline.
Petrol station - Gas station.
Pikelet - Small pancake.
Pike out - To give up when the going gets tough.
Pinch - Steal.
Piss up - Party with significant amount of alcohol.
Pissed - Drunk.
Pissed off - Annoyed.
Pissing down - Raining hard.
Plonk - Cheap wine.
Pa -Fortified village of yore, now usually an abandoned terraced hillside.
Pakeha -A non-Maori, usually white and not usually expressed with derogatory intent. Literally "foreign" though it can also be translated as "flea" or "pest". It may also be a corruption of pakepakeha, which are mythical human-like beings with fair skins.
Pashing -Kissing or snogging.
Patu -Short fighting club
Paua -Abalone, a type of shellfish with a wonderful iridescent shell.
Pavlova -Meringue dessert with a fruit and cream topping.
Pike out -To chicken out or give up.
Piss -Beer.
Pissed -Drunk.
Piss head -Drunkard.
Plunket rooms -Childcare centre.
Poms -People from Britain; not necessarily offensive.
Powhiri -Traditional welcome onto a marae.
Puckerooed -Broken. Derived from the Maori for broken, pakaru.
Puku -Maori for stomach, often used as a term of endearment for someone amply endowed.
Primary school - Elementary school.
Pub - Bar.
Pudding - The dessert course of a meal.
Pupil - Student.
Pushbike - Bicycle.


Queen Street farmer -City businessman owning rural property.


Rack off - Go away, piss off.
Randy - Horny.
Rat-bag - Contemptible person.
Rellies - Relatives.
Rice bubbles - Rice crispies / breakfast cereal.
Ring - Call on the telephone.
Ranch slider -Sliding glass door giving onto the garden or decking.
Rangatira -General term for a Maori chief.
Rapt -Well-pleased.
Rattle your dags -Hurry up.
Root -Vulgar term for sex.
Rooted -To be very tired or beyond repair, as in "she's rooted mate" - your car is irreparable.
Rough as guts -Uncouth, roughly made or operating badly, as in "she's running rough as guts, mate".
Rubber - Eraser - misunderstandings that can arise are famous.
Rubbish - Garbage.
Rubbish tin - Garbage can.
Rucksack - Backpack.


Sammie - sandwhich
Sandshoes - canvas sneakers
Scungy - run-down/worn-out/dirty.
Shorts - movie trailers
Singlet - Sleeveless undershirt
Skivvy - Kind of shirt
Smoko - A short break from work, e.g. 5-15 minutes.
Snarkey - Having a sarcastic and nasty attitude.
Scroggin -Trail mix, essentially nuts and raisins.
Sealed road -Bitumen-surfaced road.
Section -Block of land usually surrounding a house.
She'll be right -Everything will work out fine.
Shoot through -To leave suddenly.
Shout -To buy a round of drinks or generally to treat people.
Skull- To knock back beer quickly.
Slutted -Greatly annoyed.
Snarler - , snag -Sausage.
Spud -Potato 
Squiz -A look, as in "Give us a squiz".
Station wagon -Estate car.
Stoked -Very pleased.
Sticky Tape -Tape 
Sook - Someone who is "Packing a sad"
Sparky - Electrician
Spinner - usually used to describe a female who is a little flakey/stupid (an air-head), as in "she's a real spinner!".
Stubbies - (i) very short shorts used by farmers and mechanics. Or/ (ii) 330 ml bottles of beer.
Stuffed - exhausted
Stirrer -Trouble maker. Sussed - understood
Swot - study


Take the piss - to ridicule
Ta - thank you
Takeaways - take-out food
Tea - dinner
Teatime - dinner time
Tertiary education - education above secondary school, e.g. university
The States - the U.S.A.
Tiki - Maori figurine
Tip - garbage dump
Taiaha -Long-handled club.
Tane -Man.
Tangata whenua -The people of the land, local or original inhabitants.
Tangi -Mourning or funeral.
Taniwha -Fearsome water spirit of Maori legend.
Taonga -Treasures, prized possessions.
Tapu -Forbidden or taboo. Frequently refers to sacred land.
Te reo Maori -Maori language.
Tiki -Maori pendant depicting a distorted human figure.
Tiki tour -Guided tour.
Togs -Swimsuit costume.
Tohunga -Maori priests, experts in Maoritanga.
Tukutuku -Knotted latticework panels decorating the inside of a meeting house.
Tupuna -Ancestors; of great spiritual importance to Maori.
Toilet - room containing a toilet
Toll call - long distance phone call
Tomato - Is pronounced "tom-R-toe", not "tom-A-toe".
Tomato sauce - Ketchup / catsup
Tramping - Hiking (walk in the bush / great outdoors).
Tucker - Food.
Twink - stationary whiteout


Ute - pickup truck, abbrev. of "utility vehicle"



Varsity - abbreviation for university



Wahine - Woman.
Waiata - Maori action songs.
Wairau - Spirit.
Waratah - Stake, a term used to describe snow poles on tramps.
Wank- Masturbate or bullshit, as in 'you are saying a load of wank'

Waka - Maori canoe.
Wero - Challenge before entering a marae.
Whakapapa - Family tree or genealogical relationship.
Whanau - Extended family group.
Whare - Maori for a house.
Whare runanga - Meeting house.
Whare whakairo - Carved house.
Within cooee - Within reach.
Wop-wops - Remote areas.
Wank - masturbate
Wanker - jerk or idiot
Wharfie - stevedore
Wahine -Woman.
Waiata -Maori action songs.
Wairau -Spirit.
Waratah -Stake, a term used to describe snow poles on tramps.
Wero -Challenge before entering a marae.
Whakapapa -Family tree or genealogical relationship.
Whanau -Extended family group.
Whare -Maori for a house.
Whare runanga -Meeting house.
Whare whakairo -Carved house.
Within cooee -Within reach.
Wop-wops -Remote areas.
Whinge - moan and complain, in particular "whinging Pom"
Wopwops - back country, hinterland, country.


Yank - an American
Yank tank - slang for a large American car
Yonks - forever, a long time ago, ages
Yahoo -To be or act like a lout.
You ain't wrong - that's right, yes


Zed - Z; zee; the last letter of the alphabet.

Other Useful Phrases

"A fair bash" - a good try
"Blow me down" - as in; "Well! Blow me down, I didn't know that."
"Bring a plate" -Bring food to a function.

"Bob's your Uncle" - Very kiwi expression. Can only be roughly translated into something like "And that's all there is to it!"
"Box of Fluffies" - (As in answer to 'How are you?') Very well.
To "Box on" -Carry on (usually under hard times)

"Bust a gut" - try really hard
"Crikey dick!" - gosh! wow!
"Charge an arm and a leg" -They charge high prices.

"Do your block" - Blow your top. Get really angry
"Do a runner" - take off without doing something i.e. "he ate his dinner and did a runner without paying the bill"
"Dreaded lurgy" - The flu. Or any winter coldlike illness. Used as an excuse for not going to work.
"Fair go" - "give me a chance"
"Give it heaps" - try hard
"Good on yer mate" - good for you, pal
"Hunky dory" - everything's fine, as in "my life is hunky dory"
"In one ear and out the other" -They don't listen.

"Mates Rates" - Significant discounts given to friends and family on goods and services.
"Pack a sad" - to throw a quiet tantrum. Get upset and refrain from joining in. Can also be used if something breaks i.e. I have to catch the bus coz my cars packed a sad.
"Piece-of-piss" - the same as "piece of cake" really easy to do.
"Pushing up daisies" - dead and buried
"Ring a bell" - sound familiar
"She'll be right" - often heard, means everything will be ok
"Spit the dummy" - break. See also, "pack a sad".
"Two sammies short of a picnic" - used to describe a person who is a "bit thick" also, "two tinnies short of a 6 pack", "2 bunnies shy of a hutch".
"Thats the story!" - Thats right! You're doing it right!
"Throw a sickie" - have a day of work for sickness
To talk "ninety to the dozen"-To talk fast. "Up the duff" - pregnant, or "in the pudding club" (I know, thats very obtuse)
"What are ya!" - Used as a friendly insult or challenge "You don't want a beer? What are ya!?!"
"Wee cracker" - see "You Beaut!"
"Wrap your laughing gear around that!" - Have a taste of that!
"You beaut!" - "You marvel!" exclamation of happiness or gratitude i.e. "My horse won at the races! You Beut!" "South of the Bombay hills"- Anywhere South of Auckland.


Reviews / Comments for Kiwi (NZ) to English Dictionary

Rating Averages


Helpfull, but a lot of things are not just for NZTwo tinnies shy of a six pack, or of a slab is also australian and European, then there is a couple of sandwiches shy of a picnic, mostly USA. a few wankers shy of an orgasm, England 23 less the carton (a carton has 24 beers. etc. Used a lot in the Netherlands and growing. Start might be Australian.

Did you find this review useful? +4


nice summary of kiwi sayings, and useful for explaining to english people I live with - some possible words not there, e.g., "skite" (to show off, boast) is a term my english friends hadn't heard of

Did you find this review useful? +9

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