We have officially been in New Zealand for four months, which means we have spent nearly the same amount of time jet-setting around the globe as we have settling into a home overseas. Many people ask me which I prefer, and the answer is simple: I’m a fickle, fickle person. While traveling, I yearn for the stability of a home, yet once I put down the slightest roots, I’m ready to pack my bags and hit the road again. As with everything in life, I have found that it’s all about finding a balance that is right for you (yes, I’m aware it’s easier said than done – I’ll let you know when/if I have have a revelation and find mine).
We’re in our final weeks of “settled” life in New Zealand, and no matter how excited I am to travel around the country, I’m sad to see it end. I love Nelson: it’s fun, laid-back, beautifully positioned between the mountains and the sea and just a stone’s through away from arguably the most beautiful parts of this country. That’s not all I’ll miss through. Brian and I have been warmly welcomed into this town by strangers (remember Dan, our barista turned flatmate and mastermind behind our Kiwi Thanksgiving?), co-workers, and random connections we have made through mutual friends.
I know it’s not fair to sum up an entire of country of people in generalizations, but I believe you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who has interacted with New Zealander’s and not found them to be kind, genuine and overly generous. They also happen to have many very funny terms for things, which is really what this post is about despite it’s sappiness up to this point.
Sometimes, I have found that the biggest language barriers exist when you’re (supposedly) speaking the same language. Here’s to my wonderful Kiwi friends and all new vocabulary they’ve taught me during our time here!
An incomplete list of Kiwi-isms:
Sweet As = Cool, Awesome (Brian calls it the unfinished simile)
Jandals = Flip Flops
Chilly Bin = Cooler
Knackered = Exhausted
Fizzy = Soda
Bogan = Redneck
Boot = Car Trunk
Entree = Appetizer
How ya going? = How are you doing?
Smoko = Break Time
Take the piss = Make fun of
Capsicum = Bell pepper
Scull = Drink alcohol quickly
Skip = Dumpster
Cheers = Thank you
Chur Bro = Thanks
Candyfloss = Cotton Candy
Brekkie = Breakfast
Tea = Dinner
Biscuit = Cookie
Rubbish = Trash
Nappy = Diaper
Heaps = A Lot
Good on ya = Congratulations, well done
Lolly = Any type of candy
Ice Block = Popsicle
Bach (pronounced “batch”) = Vacation Home
Wellies = Gumboots
Torch = Flashlight
Togs = Swimsuit
Growler = Part of the female anatomy having nothing to do with beer…
Rigger = A plastic bottle that holds beer (never call it a growler: you will get strange looks and/or laughed at)
Kiwi Bird = A flightless bird and national symbol of NZ – not to be confused with:
Kiwi = A person from New Zealand – or:
Kiwifruit = The fruit known in most of the world as Kiwi, but because birds and people are also called “Kiwis” here, you must clarify
Well there you have it, my favorite Kiwi-isms. It’s a daily occurrence that I learn a new word, and believe me when I tell you that I’ve put my foot in my mouth over here many times (my innocent comment about double fisting while Brian was drinking two beers was taken all wrong… I’ll never live it down). If you find yourself planning a trip to this fabulous land (which I hope you do), have a look at this list before you come. I hope it will save you otherwise inevitable confusion… oh, and it’s totally acceptable to walk into a grocery store barefoot here; do not be alarmed.
Have I missed one of your favorite Kiwi-isms? Let me know by commenting below!
About the author: Kaitlin
Kaitlin is one of the two backpacks currently galavanting her way around the globe with her husband Brian. She loves adventures of any kind (especially if they involve getting into the wilderness), exploring vegetarian foods in different cultures, and meeting people from around the globe. Her goal in writing for this site is to inspire people to take risks, define their own life rules, and be happy and healthy while doing it.