Kiwi phrases and sayings: local lingo and Te Reo

Insider's guide

​​The Kiwi accent isn’t that hard to understand, even if our Aussie neighbours joke about us ordering “fush un chips,” but you will notice the odd unfamiliar word or phrase.

Te Reo (Māori language) is one of the official languages of New Zealand, and we use it all the time. You’ll often hear conversations where Māori terms are dropped casually into the middle of English sentences. Here are a few Kiwi words and phrases to listen out for:

Aotearoa New Zealand
Greasies Fish and chips
L&P Best soft drink in the world
Aroha Love
Gutted Very disappointed
Marae A gathering place
Choice Excellent
Haere mai Welcome
Munted Wrecked, ruined
Chur Cheers, thanks
Haka War dance
Soft drink Soda, fizzy drink
Dairy Corner store
Hāngi Feast prepared in an earth oven
Stink Oh dear, that’s no good
Hard case Good sense of humour
Stoked Ecstatic
Jandals Flip-flops/thongs
Sweet az No problem
Ka pai All good
Tiki tour The ‘scenic’ route
Kai Food
Togs Swimsuit
Kia ora Greetings, hello
Waka Canoe
Whānau Family (nb: ‘wh’ is usually pronounced ‘f’)
Yeah-nah-yeah Yes