New Zealand, Travels Tips

Learn a few Choice NZ Greetings

A trip to downunder would not be right without some knowledge on how to understand the Maori language [which more commonly referred to as Te Reo ] and our unique slang.  In a previous post, I shared some reasons why a trip downunder to New Zealand would be a “choice” trip that I’m sure many would enjoy.

A few important words to learn – in Te Reo [Maori]:

Kia Ora – Hello

Morena – Good Morning

See you later – Kite koe i muri

Good – Kai Pai

 Food – Kai

For more

Then I thought it might be a good idea to share with prospective visitors, some of our more different sayings. Without further ado.  Let’s check out a quick translation guide to Kiwi slang to assist while touring around our beautiful country.

Sweet as: This means something is “good”.  “All good, mate!”

Les and a huge Pohutakawa tree_edited

Good as gold: “Great” or “cool”.  It actually might get you thinking, why gold is “good”.  Did we forget about the phrase “money is the root of all evil”?

Choice: Can mean “good”, “great”, “awesome”.  It is more prevalent among young people than in older generations.  Which I am forever grateful!

Mint: See “choice”. Whenever I hear it, I can’t help but think of Minties, which is a hard lolly and a favourite to have on a roadtrip.  Another word that is not used so much by the older generation *whew*

Hard out: This is a fancy way of expressing amazement. I have no idea as to its origins. There’s an Urban Dictionary entry for it, but understanding it requires more patience.

She’ll be right: Another way of saying “everything will be OK.” Just don’t ask me who  “she” is.  I have no idea!

Dairy: A convenience store usually in abundance in the suburbs. I know, I know: the first time you hear it you will think “where are the damned cows”.

Cows on the road

Bro: Now this is one of New Zealand’s most universal words bandied around in all walks of life.  You get to use it in a sentence to someone who has no relation to you at all, and definitely not your brother.

Crook: If you are feeling unwell some kind New Zealander may come up to you and ask if you “crook”.  So, don’t go thinking that they are referring to you as a villain or rogue.  They just want confirmation that you are indeed not well!

Bach: Usually a rustic, small, modest holiday home or beach house. (pronounced ‘batch‘) It is also referred to as a crib in the southern half of the South Island.  Check out

Chocka: This can mean “full” or “packed,” usually referring to a rugby or other sports game.  For example “Eden Park is going to be chocka for the All Blacks game.”

Pineapple lumps: Chocolate-covered chewy candy.  My biggest question is how on earth they got called Pineapple Lumps as they don’t taste like pineapple!  I am not a fan of lollies.  It is also to be noted that the Squire does NOT agree with me regarding my opinion of pineapple lumps.

Chocolate Fish and Jaffas: There are about as relevant to mention as the pineapple, I won’t describe them and shall let you discover their delights when you bite into them.

Jandals: commonly known in many other countries as thongs or flip-flops.   It is a famous footwear for many Kiwis.

Suss: If someone says they’ll “suss it out,” it means that they’ll work it out.

Tramping: Usually going for long walks in the bush or wops-wops.  Referred to as hiking in other countries.


Wop-wops: The middle of nowhere. Our favourite place to venture!

Tiki tour:  A phrase that is used in place of “to take a long way”  It is to be noted that I love this saying as it reminds me of our motorhoming days in our converted bus “Purr-Inn” [the name does come with a story attached to it!]


Squizz: Means “take a look”.

Flat tack: If someone is “flat tack” it means they’re rushed, “Haven’t got time to chat, mate!”.

Feed: This means that someone is off to have some food, fish and chips wrapped in paper opened up on the table by the beach or river.  Maybe a pie instead, choice mate!


So when a young fella says to you, “Yeah nah bro, I reckon that’s all good, cheap as for a mean as feed like that!”  Now you will know what the heck they are talking about, chur bro.

So there you have it.  

A bit of information about what makes our country’s language unique, and a few slang words and phrases you are more than likely to encounter while touring around New Zealand.

Learn a few Choice New Zealand Greetings (1)_edited

85 thoughts on “Learn a few Choice NZ Greetings”

  1. Interesting tidbits, Suz. I definitely remember “tramping”, especially since we sailed for a while with NZ friends, who we often went for a hike with in French Polynesia. And, the pineapple lumps being a specialty. Not bad. Funny about “kai”, because in Tahitian, “kai kai” is like a potluck with local dishes, or a big food feast at a local festival. One more word that I learned in NZ (or from Kiwi friends), is “wee” as in “a wee bit of alcohol” or anything else. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You call them A Dairy we call them a convenience store. But some of our convenience stores are named Dairy Mart.

    When I was younger, back in the 1960’s we still had Dairy stores that were attached to farms where you could buy the milk right from the farm that produced it. And milk was still delivered then, too. So we had a little tin box on the back porch where we would leave our empty glass milk bottles and the milkman would retrieve the empties and leave us new bottles of milk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well Jennifer would you believe that is how our milk was delivered during our childhood. As time went on finding the right change became a hassle for the houseshold. No doubt as kids asked for change before Mum got the money ready for the milk bottles!! What I detested was the little small bottles of warm milk we were given at school. To this day I still dislike warm milk.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yuck! I dislike warm milk too! When I was younger my parents used to heat it on the stove as some sort of sleep aid. It was just disgusting. I would pretend to be asleep in order to not get that as the cure.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. As many have already commented, a lot of the phrases mentioned are used in England too – we do tend to say “choca -block “ as well as “choca” meaning busy too. Must admit, I thought of the fruit drink Kia Ora too when reading the Maori words. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of my best friends is from NZ and she’s moving back very soon, boo. However, it’s not like I needed another excuse to visit, ha! I love words, and the feeling of ‘lost in translation is what makes cultures different, and also weirdly the same! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lorna, I hope you do get to come downunder for a visit and it does make the country more special when you a friend to visit. When we are immersed into a community where English isn’t spoken often it’s amazing how much we understand after a while. Turkish was one that was a wee bit harder as many words had more than a few meanings. Actually much like English!!


  5. Australia is definitely on my bucket list. 🙂 It’s good to know the language before hand. Thanks for sharing. I hope I can remember all of it when I get the chance to go. It won’t be for a while yet because my boys are still young. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Great post, Suz! I had the opportunity to get to know many New Zealanders when I lived and worked in Beijing, China for fourteen years. They regularly used many of these expressions (which I loved). Thank you for reminding me of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Choice post Suzanne, chocka with info and I’m pleased to have taken a squizz at it. That, said I’ve sussed most of them because Ozzy soaps here have brought a number of sayings into slang here too.

    Loved it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Are you one and the same as the Tiki Tourers. If so, that was my first introduction to travel blogs – discovered when given the web address when we purchased a dining room suite from someone in Currumbine.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nations divided by a common language … some of these exist in English, many don’t . As a lover of linguistics I really enjoyed this. But my favourite …. I had no idea that Kia Ora means hello in Maori – I just know it as a fruit juice drink in Britain 🍊

    Liked by 1 person

          1. So glad you enjoyed it …. I love those crows – in fact I used to do a passable impersonation of them once upon a blue moon. Now. This has got me in full sleuthing mode. It seems Kia Ora is still available in the UK and that it is manufactured by Coca Cola. I imagine, therefore, if the poor Maori took issue with their word being used with no credit the might of CC would swing into inappropriate force and tell the Maori that they are not to use it anymore. Could be interesting … NZ would defend quite mightily I rather think. Anyhow, it’s quite a nice drink and they say they chose the name because it means ‘be well/be happy’ and that surely is my wish to you and all I know – Kia Ora! 😊

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I have heard many farming cadets head over your way, Uk and South America for farming experience. So I think you could be right 🙂 It is interesting that many countries have similar quirky sayings. Though to be honest NZ has certainly been made up of many cultures.


    1. Thanks, Melanie. Yes, you’re right our countries are very similar and yet have so much that is unique. The rest of the household is doing the dishes and I am on the computer for a short period 🙂 We enjoy being home, though looking forward to heading back. xx


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