“Sorry, I don’t get what you’re saying?”

I’ve received this comment hundreds, if not thousands of times over the years on the road.

When talking to fellow kiwis, or people who have visited NZ I can chatter away and the convo flows. But when kiwis talk to people who haven’t been to NZ or interacted with many kiwis, the New Zealand slang words can be a massive curveball. Add in our accent and tendency to speak fast as well as shortening lots of words, then no wonder people have no idea what I’m saying.

If you’re heading to NZ, here are a bunch of New Zealand words that might throw you off to start with.

12 Pieces Of Kiwi Slang You’ll Actually Hear

1. “She’ll be right.”

People often describe Kiwis in general as being relaxed humans. This phrase sums it up, particularly from kiwi males. It’s signaling that everything will be okay. interesting side note, it’s something that Kiwi lads are being encouraged to avoid saying in regards to our mental health.
In a sentence: “She’ll be right, at worst she catches a taxi home.”

2. “No worries.”

There’s a good chance you’ll pick this one up on your trip. It’s the most common one I hear visitors say. It’s a substitute for “No problem” or “Your welcome” or when you’re agreeing to something.
In a sentence: “Can you pick up the kids at 3pm after work from Wellington?”
“No worries.”

3. “Bugger”

One that comes in and out of use for me and for those old enough, they’ll remember the tv advert (we call them ‘ads’) below. Watch that and you’ll get the idea.
Used in a sentence: “Bugger, that wasn’t what I had planned.”

4. “Arvo”

Not to be confused with a shortening of avocado, it is short for Afternoon.
In a sentence: “What’s your plan for this arvo?”

5. “Chur”

I use this as a replacement for thanks. It can also refer to confirming something is good, or when you’re saying cheers at the pub.
In a sentence: “Chur, that was brilliant.”

6. “Passed out”

Often used to refer to when someone has comatosed from excess alcohol (we also say they coma’ed out when someone falls asleep at a party) which is derived from coma. It can also be used as a substitute for general sleeping/napping.
In a sentence: “That day was so tiring I passed out as soon as I got home.”

7. “Doin’ alright?” or “You all good?”

This one got me in trouble once when over a few days I kept asking a friend ‘You okay?’. She didn’t know my intention was just asking if she was okay in general (I was being nice). She was thinking I was implying that she looked grumpy all the time or that something else appeared wrong. Context is king!
In a sentence: “Hey, you all good?”

8. “Bloody”

A slang word we use in lots of situations, but most commonly used before an adjective for exaggeration.
In a sentence: “Oh that’s right, your mate is a bloody legend.”

9. “Keen”

This is used in agreement a plan, replacing ‘sounds good’.
In a sentence: “I’m so keen to visit Hobbiton next month.”

10. “Nek Minnet”

This is one I use with probably the highest failure. It’s short for next minute and is derived from the video below. People I’ve sent this video are often still confused when I send them this, so if that’s the case for you. No worries.
In a sentence: “I was going to go for a run earlier. Nek minnet, it started pouring cats and dogs.”

11. “Yea, nah”

Always the people pleasing kind, I find that we tend to use this when we get a bit presumptuous and don’t want to let someone down before realising a split second later that we don’t actually want to do whatever we agreed to a moment ago.
In a sentence: “Do you want to another beer before you go home?” Oh yea, nah, I’m driving home and better be cautious.”

12. “Eh” (or Aye)

I find I’m often using this when I’m not sure about something and am usually looking for agreement with what I’m saying, or at least a response of some context. It all depends on the tone used.
In a sentence: “That was a good walk around Wellington, eh”

Well, there you go. Some kiwi slang for you. Given I say these words on a frequent basis, I’d like to think a lot of other kiwis do too. Unless I’m a weirdo. That’s not impossible, eh.

Chur for reading. Gizza comment if you’ve got any questions!