10 Common Phrases Used in New Zealand

7 minute read
Common Phrases Used in New Zealand

Language has unique potential. In an instant, it could make you feel like an insider or an outsider. When you take New Zealand for instance the majority communicates in English but in a different variety of English. Just by the speech pattern, you could differentiate between a New Zealander and a non-native person. That’s why a hold over the native language is believed to be the easiest entry point into any society or culture. Now, if you are planning to study in New Zealand would you want to feel like an outsider in a place where you are going to spend some significant years of your life? No, right? That’s why we have come up with 10 common phrases used in New Zealand to make fitting into their society a bit easier. 

Let’s Begin with the Common Phrases

Before getting into the list you should know that learning a language is no piece of cake. If you want to learn Maori, the language spoken by the indigenous population of New Zealand then it won’t come easy to you. That’s a hard nut to crack. So, instead of struggling with Maori, familiarise yourself with New Zealand English which is spoken by the majority of the population. New Zild which is their accent is not easy to catch but there are certain phrases you could learn to get that vibe. With that, we will dive into the list of 10 common phrases used in New Zealand.

1. Kiwi
Confused about what to call the natives of New Zealand? Does saying New Zealanders sound weird to you? Then the word you’re looking for is Kiwi. The bird Kiwi being the national symbol of New Zealand, they view it as a symbol of pride. So, in short you could call them Kiwi without any fear of offending them. 

2. Kia Ora – Be well/healthy
Now you can’t easily learn Maori but why not pick up that one phrase which is used everyday to greet each other. Kia Ora is that phrase, used to greet someone which could help you blend in with the people of New Zealand. 

3. Sweet as – No problem/thank you/no worries/
It’s the most versatile term in New Zealand English. It could mean many things varying from okay or no problem to wonderful. So, when you hear a native using this term just take it easy because it doesn’t express any kind of rejection but sheer acceptance or appreciation. 

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4. Knackered – Really tired
 If you are looking for that phrase which could be used to express your state of mind after a hard day at school/university/work, then “I am knackered” is your go-to phrase. It simply means “I am really tired” but just a cool version of it. 

5. She’ll be alright – “whatever is wrong will right itself with time”
You will find the people of New Zealand using this phrase for any possible thing or object. A sprained leg? Yeah, she’ll be alright. It simply means that your leg will get better in time. It’s such phrases which make us realise why New Zealand English sounds so catchy.

6. Pack a sad –  throwing a tantrum
“This kid is packing a sad” literally means that “this kid is throwing a tantrum”. It’s one of the phrases the meaning of which you can’t even guess. So, just make sure to remember it. Who knows when it can come handy. 

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7. Piece of piss – it was easy
The New Zealanders when finding a task easy they just say it was a “piece of piss”. Kind of funny and weird. No? Just don’t try to decipher the logic behind it and use it casually because you are going to hear it a lot. 

8. I am pretty chocka – I am pretty full
Get used to this term because you are gonna need it a lot considering how hospitable the people of New Zealand are. The next time you are at a friend’s house in New Zealand and they are forcing you to eat more, just say “I am pretty chocka”. It will be a lot more convincing than just “I am pretty full”. 

9. Muppet – Idiot
Muppet is basically a non-offensive way of saying idiot if used among friends. It’s very commonly used amongst youngsters and you might want to memorize it considering how people find the word “idiot” offensive. But if in a circle of elder people, refrain from using it. 

10. Munted – Broken/ wasted
Munted is just simply another word for broken. But you might want to memorize it because broken is not used very often in New Zealand. One thing that you need to remember is that it’s also used to refer to a drunk person. “He is munted” would mean “he is wasted” and “my car is munted” would mean “my car is broken”. 

11. Wop Wops – In the middle of nowhere
Wop Wops is the New Zealand version of the phrase Woop Woop. Like Woop Woop, Wop Wops is used in a humorous way to refer to a remote town or district. It is a common phrase used in New Zealand and you will often find New Zealanders using it to refer to the countryside. 

12. Yeah Nah – Yes, but I don’t agree
If you are hearing this phrase for the first time, it might be a bit confusing. Well, yes and no being used together. Who won’t be? But it’s very simple as it is used to first acknowledge what the other person has just said and then express your disagreement regarding it. So, basically “yes, I heard what you said, but I don’t agree”. 

13. Ka Kite Ano – See you later
This is one of the most common Maori phrases used in New Zealand. It’s just a more familiar version of your regular see you later and that being said you already know how often you are going to hear it in New Zealand. Also, it is very commonly used by news reporters.

14. Haera Ra – Goodbye
This one is also a Maori phrase and it stands for goodbye. Even though the younger generation is more equipped with the word “goodbye”, the elder one still excessively uses “Haera Ra” instead of “Goodbye”. So, it’s better to memorize this particular phrase as it can come handy while conversing with elders. 

15. You right? – Is everything okay?
New Zealanders do have a habit of using incomplete sentences. One of the finest examples of it is this common phrase used in New Zealand “you right”. It’s just a short version of “are you alright”. So, if you hear someone saying this to you just know that they are asking you if everything is okay. 

16. Stoked – Extremely Happy
When New Zealanders are extremely happy they express it by using the word “Stoked”. It’s a slang term used to describe a rush that you feel in a state of extreme happiness. So, if you wish to express the kind of happiness which can be put into words, then “stoked” is the word that you were looking for.

17. No sweat – Don’t worry about it
Remember what I just said about incomplete sentences? “No sweat” is an example of just that. So, if you hear a New Zealander saying “no sweat” to you, don’t get confused but it’s just a friendly version of “don’t worry about it”. 

18. He’s a hard case – he is funny
This is a common phrase used in New Zealand to refer to a funny person. So, while staying in New Zealand, try to use “he’s a hard case” instead of “he’s funny” because that’s going to be more impactful. 

19. That’s grotty – That’s disgusting
Grotty is a common New Zealandian slang for something dirty, offensive or unpleasant. Grotty is actually an English word but is not as much used anywhere else than in New Zealand. 

20. It looks a bit sus – It looks a bit suspicious
This is another common phrase used in New Zealand. Sus is just a short form for suspicious. By now you already know how much New Zealanders like to use incomplete sentences and short forms. So, of you hear someone say “it looks a bit sus” it simply means that the speaker thinks something is suspicious. 

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So, these are 10 common phrases used in New Zealand which you will get to hear every day during your stay in New Zealand. Apart from these, “chur” means “cool”, shark ‘n’ taters means fish ‘n” chips, “cuz” is an affectionate term for friends or cousins and the list goes on and on. But these words are good enough for starters and the rest you will learn during your stay in New Zealand. So go ahead and fly to New Zealand and don’t let the language barrier stop you. If you need assistance in getting to your dream study destination, get in touch with Leverage Edu experts!

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