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10 Slang Phrases You Need to Understand People From New Zealand

New Zealand Student Work Languages
by Sarah Goldsworthy Nov 3, 2015

1. Rattle ya dags! | Hurry up!

This one’s a bit gross. The dags are the parts of fleece around a sheep’s bum that are usually caked in poo. Basically, they rattle when the sheep runs.

2. Just popping to the dairy | I’m going to the convenience store.

Kiwis get a lot of grief about this phrase — or any unwarranted use of the word “dairy” for that matter — from our Aussie neighbors. To us, a dairy is a corner store, or wherever you can pick up a loaf of bread, bottle of milk, ice cream cone, or drink.

3. I’m knackered. | I’m tired.

Example: “I’m completely knackered out from that rugby match.”

4. Wop-wops | Middle of nowhere

This can also be used when referring to the New Zealand countryside. The wop-wops are often teamed with the phrase tiki-tour, which refers to “taking the long way round,” or just getting totally and utterly lost.

Example: “We took a tiki-tour to the beach and ended up in the wop-wops.”

5. Get your A into G! | Rattle ya dags!

Another way to say “hurry up,” the full sentence is actually: “Get your arse into gear!”

6. Pakeha | Fair-skinned

In the 1800s, this Māori word was originally used to describe the fair-skinned new settlers. It’s still used to this day.

7. It was choice, bro! | It was good.

“Choice” is a versatile word in New Zealand, and pretty much means anything that’s positive — “ok,” “cool,” “I agree,” “I understand,” “It’s been good.” And every Kiwi knows that a bro isn’t necessarily a brother — though they could be. A bro is anyone from a good friend to a random stranger. Cuz is used in the same way.

8. Kia Ora | Be well.

This is an informal Māori greeting that a lot of Kiwis use everyday. It literally means “be healthy” and can be used to say hello, thank you, or goodbye.

9. Eh? | What?

Pronounced “Aye,” this one can get a little tricky. It can be phrased as a question, “That was a great movie eh?” But it can also be popped on the end of a sentence and serve no purpose at all — “I went to a great movie on the weekend eh.”

10. Yeah-nah | No, thank you.

Even though it reads like both a yes and a no, yeah-nah is basically just a polite no.

Example: “Yeah-nah, don’t want to go to the pub bro.”

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