Kiwi words and sayings

At-a-glance guide to 30 popular Kiwi words and sayings. Like many English-speaking countries, New Zealand has its own special Kiwi words and phrases which are frequently used in daily conversation.

This brief guide to the most commonly used Kiwi words and sayings will help the visitor tune in to the Kiwi tongue.

Kiwi words to describe how you feel

Good as (gold) - excellent

Boomer - excellent

Choice - fantastic

Stoked - very pleased

Slutted - greatly annoyed

Sweet as - cool, awesome

Right as rain - perfect


Kiwi Words for common objects or items

Jandals - flip flops (if you are British) ; thongs (if you are Aussie)

Togs - swimming costume

Arvo - afternoon

Anklebiter - small child

Bach - pronounced ‘batch'. Holiday home

Chilly bin - insulated bag for keeping food or beer cool

Chook - chicken

Chuddy - chewing gum

Handle - large glass of beer

Tramp - a hike, trek, long walk usually lasting several days

Greasies - fish and chips

Hard case - joker, comedian

Sunnies - sunglasses

Dag - amusing person or situation


Kiwi Sayings

Gorse in your pocket - slow to pay

Give it a burl - try it

Rattle your dags - hurry up

She'll be right - everything will work out fine

Pack a sad - to become moody, to break

How Kiwis Speak

Brits think the New Zealand accent is the most socially attractive English accent outside of the four home nations, according to a BBC survey.

New Zealand English was more liked than Australian, American and most regional British accents in the study published in the international Journal of Sociolinguistics, edited by Auckland University of Technology professor Allan Bell.

More than 5000 respondents from throughout the United Kingdom voted online to rate the prestige and social attractiveness of 34 different accents of English speakers.

Dr Bell said the reason the British looked favourably on Kiwi English was 'in part because of the relative similarity to Queen's English and BBC English'.

Standard English, Scottish and Irish were rated top in the survey, which was analysed by researchers from the University of Wales Centre for Language and Communication Research.

New Zealand English rated highly for both attractiveness and prestige.

It was the 6th most 'socially attractive' accent, ahead of the Queen's English and well ahead of Australian in 13th and American English in 15th place.

New Zealand ranked 7th on prestige, above American English in 8th and Australian which came in at 11th. The Queen's English got the highest ranking for prestige.