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How to Understand a New Zealander

Kiwi’s are known for their out-going adventurous nature, so it’s more than likely that if you are cycle touring somewhere in the world you will moot likely come across one in the wild. Unfortunately we “Kiwis” are not the easiest to understand so recently Lonely Planet put out a guide to help out


General knowledge

What you’ll need to know to get by and make friends.

Choice aye – all good
As – use to intensify the preceding adjective eg ‘sweet as’, ‘hungry as‘
Bro – short for brother, term of friendship used with alarming regularity (for exemplary use of the term ‘bro’, check out the beached whale video)
Chur – Kiwi for thanks, cool, sweet as, etc. A more relaxed version of ‘cheers bro’. Can also be used as a NZ version of ‘ta da!‘
Yeah nah – technically means no. Defined by user; purposely vague.
Yeah right – means ‘I don’t believe you at all’. Popularised by long-running campaign for Tui beer.
Not even – to be used when the facts of a conversation are in dispute
Oh true – used to express vehement agreement
Stink – expression of dismay when told of a failure or an unfortunate event
Tiki Tour – from ‘Contiki Tour‘. Means ‘the long way round’ eg ‘we’ll tiki tour around to Napier for the next game’.
Munted – used to describe Christchurch after the earthquakes, but more generally used to describe something that’s a bit stuffed
Root – have sex. NOT support a football team. Very important distinction to make.
Dorkland – what South Islanders call Auckland
Pig Island – what North Islanders call the South Island
JAFA – acronym for Just Another F*cking Aucklander
Bach (pronounced batch; mainly North Island) – small holiday home, shortened from bachelor
Crib (some South Island) – another word for bach

Common Maori terms

These words are a big part of the NZ lexicon regardless of whether or not you’re Maori (for tips on pronunciation see this language resource).

Kia ora – hello!
Ka pai – all good/well done
Puku – tummy/stomach
Pakaru – broken, busted, had it
Ke te pai – I’m good
Waka – canoe, but commonly repurposed in an ironic way to mean just about any moving vehicle.
Whanau – family, usually extended. Vital part of NZ Maori society.
Iwi – tribe, may be applied to people from other nations, again in an ironic way

Food and drink related

How to make sure you are fed and watered while you’re in NZ.

Dairy – what other countries call a corner store/convenience store/milk bar
Hokey pokey – vanilla ice-cream with toffee bits. More popular in New Zealand than chocolate ice-cream.
Whittaker’s – New Zealand for chocolate. A locally grown brand, famous for its Peanut Slab.
Jaffas – Not to be confused with JAFA (see above). Sweets with a chocolate centre and a crunchy red coating, commonly rolled down the aisles during a film.
Piss (pronounced puss) – beer
Sink piss – drink beer
Get pissed – get drunk
Chilly bin – what you use to keep your piss cold
Piece of piss – not technically a food item, but getting a beer in NZ will be one. Means ‘easy’.
L&P – Lemon & Paeroa, a surprisingly popular soft drink.
Marmite – a yeast-extract spread that New Zealanders will argue is better than Vegemite (Australian equivalent) and the UK version of Marmite. Other countries will think they’re all crazy.
Pineapple lumps – chocolate-coated lumps of pineapple-flavoured confection
Suck the kumara – endure hard times, lose – possible origins being in death and thus below ground. A kumara is a sweet potato.

False friends

And before you head off on your merry way, if there’s one thing to remember about the New Zealand language, it’s irony. Whatever a New Zealander is saying, they’re probably meaning the opposite. Look for the tongue planted firmly in their cheek – and hope that they don’t call you a ‘winner’.

Winner – complete loser
Quite nice – awful

Taken from Lonely Planet :

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