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Thread: Kiwi–American dictionary and cultural guide

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    New Zealand

    Default Kiwi–American dictionary and cultural guide

    Any suggestion for my Kiwi–American Dictionary and Cultural Guide?

    Anklebiter - toddler, small child
    Athletics- Track. I once was invited to an “athletics meeting”, expecting a bunch of jocks discussing weight lifting, but instead found out it was what in N America would be called an outdoor “track meet”.
    Away Laughing: To do something with no problems. For example, if a rugby player got past the last tackler they'd be away laughing.
    Away with the fairies: In a day dream. Someone whose attention is somewhere else would be away with the fairies.
    Aotearoa - Maori name for New Zealand meaning land of the long white cloud
    Arvo – afternoon (Australian origin)
    As long as a piece of string: We/I/you don’t know how much or how long it is or will take
    Aubergine - eggplant
    Bach - holiday home
    Banger - sausage, as in bangers and mash
    Barbie – barbecue
    Bench or benchtop: counter, countertop
    Big Bickies: Lots of money. If you saw an expensive looking watch you'd say it's probably worth big bickies
    Big smoke - large town or city
    Bin, bin this – garbage can; throw this out
    biscuit: cookie
    Bif: bif it = dump it, throw it out
    Bit of dag - hard case, comedian, person with character
    Bitser - mongrel dog
    Blue Bottle – Portuguese Man of war jellyfish
    Bloke – man
    Bludge: To sponge off others. ie. Someone receiving the dole (social welfare benefit) is sometimes referred to as a Dole Bludger.
    Brickie – bricklayer
    Bob's your Uncle: Has a similar meaning to "That's all there is to it". For example, if something wasn't working because a bolt was loose I'd say "Just tighten that nut and bob's your uncle".
    Brown eye - to flash your naked butt at someone
    Boy-racer - name given to a young man who drives a fast car with a loud stereo
    Bollocks: 1. An expression of disbelief i.e if someone said they actually liked brussel sprouts the likely reply would be "Bollocks!" 2. Testicles. - Contributed by Vicki Guy
    Bonk: To have sex.
    Bonnet: car hood
    Boot – car trunk
    Box of birds- its great!
    Bring a plate - means bring a dish of food to share
    brassed off: disappointed, annoyed
    brekkie: Short for 'breakfast'
    Bugger - damn!
    Buggered: 1. Tired out after extreme exertion. Similar to 'knackered'. Eg; "Geez, I'm buggered!" 2. Unsuccessful attempt at a task, Eg; "He's buggered that up!". 3. Dismissive exclamation, sometimes giving up an attempt at something. Eg; "Bugger it!" 4. Damage or wearing out of an object; Eg; "He's buggered the motorin it".
    The Bush- the forest
    Caravan - mobile home that you tow behind your car
    Cardi - sweater
    Cast - immobilised, unable to get to your feet
    Cattle beasts – the generic name for cattle. Cows are female cattle beasts.
    Chilly Bin: A cooler. An insulated box for keeping beer or food cool. In Australia it's known as an esky.
    Cheerio - name for a cocktail sausage, or as a verb, “goodbye”
    Chocka - full, overflowing
    Chook - chicken
    Chips - deep fried slices of potato but much thicker than a french fry
    Chippy - builder, carpenter
    Chrissy pressies - Christmas presents
    cheers: goodbye or thanks or good luck.
    Chemist: pharmacy, drug store. Also a euphemism for druggist.
    Cheeky- rude, disrespectful
    Chili bins -cooler
    Chuddy - chewing gum
    Chunder - vomit, throw up
    Chocker: Full. If you'd eaten too much food you'd say "I'm chocker".
    Chuffed – proud, feeling good with oneself
    Chur- “cheers!” – “good work!”
    Choice: Great, or excellent! If you thought a motorbike was really good for example, you'd say "Man that motorbike's choice!".
    Chunder: To be sick or vomit. Describes both the act and the resulting mess.
    Cling film- Glad wrap
    Cocked-up: Made a mistake. Eg; "He sure cocked that up!" Or, "What a cock-up that was!" - Contributed by Frank Macskasy
    Coconut: An offensive word referring to a pacific islander.
    Cold One: Usually a cold bottle or can of beer. Ie; "Would ya like a cold one?" - Contributed by Frank Macskasy
    College- high school Cockie - farmer
    Cotton buds - Q-tips
    courgette: zucchini
    Cracker: perfect - as in a “cracker day”, a perfect day
    Crib - bach,
    Crook- sick (verb)
    Cuppa - cup of tea, as in cuppa tea
    Curry Muncher: Offensive word refering to an Indian person (from India). - Contributed by Hannah Tobin
    Cuzzy-Bro: A term referring to another person - typically a cousin but not always.
    Dag: Someone who's funny, or a bit of a character.
    Damp squid- went down like dead like a lead balloon
    Dairy: A corner store.
    Daylight robbery: A term used to describe the selling of something that's seriously overpriced
    Diddle: Penis
    De facto - name used for a couple who are not married but are living together
    Dear – expensive
    Decorator – a painter, wallpaper layer or interior decorator
    Dole - unemployment benefit
    Dodgy - bad, unreliable, not good
    Down the gurgler - failed plan
    Drongo - stupid fool, idiot
    Drop your gear - take your clothes off, get undressed
    dressing gown: bathrobe
    dummy: infant pacifier
    Dunny - toilet, bathroom, lavatory
    Duvet - comforter
    Ear bashing - someone talking incessantly
    Entree - appetizer, hors d'oeurve, not the main meal as in North America
    Engineer – an engineer can be a welder, a machinist as well as a high paid structural engineer
    eh: Said like the letter 'a', this is often used at the end of sentence to prompt a question. For example, "That's a pretty cool car eh". Also replaces the word 'what?' if you didn't hear someone.
    Excess: deductible (e.g. my house insurance has $100 excess)
    Exotic: foreign, not native (e.g. a pine tree is an “exotic tree”)
    Fag(s): Cigarettes.
    Fairy lights- small Christmas tree lights
    Fallen of his perch.: He has died.
    Fanny: A girls vagina.
    Fart Sack: A sleeping bag.
    Fizz Boat - small power boat
    Fizzy drink - soda pop
    Flannel - wash cloth, face cloth
    Flat - apartment, name for rental accommodation that is shared
    Flog - steal, rob
    Flu – generally refers to the common cold, not just influenza
    Footie - rugby union or league, as in "going to watch the footie"
    footpath – sidewalk
    Form – a grade in high school. Form 7 is the same as 12th grade.
    Freeze/freezer - As in 'don't be a freezer'/'Don't freeze man!' when you attempt to 'bludge' something off someone (particularly food) and they won't share, they are termed a freezer. contributed by Daniel Clifford
    French Letter: A condom.
    Frenchie: A condom.
    Fringe: hair bangs
    From go to whoa.: Beginning an event, from first preparations. Eg; setting up and then starting a school fair. - Contributed by Frank Macskasy
    Fuck up: An abusive term. Cross between fuck off (go away) and shut up.
    fuckin' oath! - yeah! for sure!
    Full tit - going very fast, using all your power, as in "he was running full tit"
    G'day - universal Kiwi and Australian greeting, also spelled gidday. There is no g’nite
    Get the willies - overcome with trepidation
    Geeza: A look at something. Often people will say, 'give us a geeza'. Also a man who is funny looking, old or just strange, eg. 'that old Geeza'. - Contributed by Hannah Tobin
    Going bush - take a break, become reclusive
    Good on ya, mate! - congratulations, well done, proud of someone
    Good as gold - feeling good, not a problem, yes
    Goob: A mouthfull of phlegm.
    Gib – sheet rock
    Guttering- drainpipe gutters
    Gutted - Expressed when something goes wrong when retelling the story. "yeah, i was gutted" contributed by Daniel Clifford
    Graunch: To grind something. Usually associated with the noise of someone putting a car into gear without using the clutch.
    Greasies: Referring to takeaway food - usually fish and chips.
    Gridiron- American football
    Grouse: Good or excellent. If you thought a car was cool you'd say it was grouse.
    Greasies - fish and chips
    Gumboots or gummies - rubber boots, wellingtons
    Handle - pint of beer
    Happy as larry - very happy
    Hard case - amusing, funny person
    Hard yakka - hard work
    Heaps: Lots of. ie. I have heaps of marbles
    Hokey Pokey: A gold coloured candy. A favourite New Zealand ice-cream flavour.
    Hori: An offensive word referring to a Maori person. Also used when referring to something as being of bad quality, or quickly put together eg. That was a hori job.
    Hory- run down, beat “that old car is hory.”
    Hollywood - to fake or exaggerate an injury on the sportsfield
    Home and hosed - safe, successfully finished, completed,
    Home Kill – Vans that will drive to one’s home to slaughter farm animals for food. They may have the words “Home Kill” written on the side of the van. (Don’t worry.)
    Hoon – juvenile delinquent
    Hosing down - heavy rain, raining heavily
    Hostel – also called “hall of residence”- college dorm
    Hottie - hot water bottle
    Hot dog – corn dog (It is also can be a N. American hot dog)
    Hover, hovering - vacuum, vacuuming
    How's it going mate? - kiwi greeting
    Iceblock - popsicle, Ice Stick
    I’m in the toilet- I’m in the bathroom
    Jandal - thongs, sandals,flip-flops,
    Jersey - sweater
    Joker: Used to replace the word guy, or man. For example, you'd say "Look at that joker over there with the red had on."
    Judder bar - speed bump
    Jumper – sweater
    Kindie – nursery school
    Kiwi - New Zealander
    Kiwifruit - Brown furry skinned fruit, Zespri, Chinese Gooseberry
    Knackered - exhausted, tired, lethargic
    Keen – means the same in North America, but is used much more frequently in NZ
    Kumara- a yam/sweet potato-like vegetable

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    New Zealand


    part 2: Leave – vacation
    Lecturer- equal to an assistant professor or (senior lecturer) associate professor in North America
    Lolly – candy
    Lolly scramble – usually used in politics meaning getting too much government assistance; also a game for toddlers
    Loo - bathroom, toilet
    The lot- that’s all, as in “Is that the lot?” when buying groceries
    Long drop - outdoor toilet, hole in ground
    Lurgy – flu or cold
    Mad as a meat axe - very angry or crazy
    Mai mai: a blind for bird hunting
    Main - primary dish of a meal
    Maori - indigenous people of New Zealand
    Mate – buddy
    Meccano –erector sets
    Metal road – gravel (or “dirt”) road
    Motorway – freeway
    Moggie- cat
    Mozzie- mosquito
    Pakeha – white NZers (wouldn’t be used for Chinese, P.I.s or Indians etc).
    Muck around- goof off, waste time.
    Mufty – informal clothing
    Naff off - go away, get lost, leave me alone
    Natter - talk
    Nana - grandmother, grandma
    Nappy - diaper
    Net ball – a popular game similar to basket ball but without a backboard, and played by women
    Nibbles – Hor’dourves (Nibbles is used rarely in North America as well, but it is ubiquitous in NZ)
    Niggle – a small ache or pain
    North Cape to the Bluff - from one end of New Zealand to the other
    OE - Overseas Experience, many students go on their OE after finishing university, see the world
    Offsider - an assistant, someones friend, as in "we saw him and his offsider going down the road"
    Oldies – parents
    Oi or oy: To get someones attention. For example if someone wasn't listening and you wanted them to come over to you, you'd say "Oi!, come over here!" Like NYC’s or Rocky Balboa’s “Yo!” (Hey, it is yo spelled backwards!)
    On the never never - paying for something using layby, not paying straight away
    One half broom and shovel – dust pan and brush
    Open slather - a free-for-all
    Paddock- field
    Pack a sad - bad mood, morose, ill-humoured, broken , as in "she packed a sad"
    Pakeha - non-Maori person
    Panel beater - auto repair shop, panel shop
    Paper – a course at university or a polytechnic
    Pav - pavlova, meringue-like dessert usually topped with kiwifruit and cream
    Peg- Clothespin
    Perve - to stare
    Petrol - gasoline, gas
    P.I.s - Pacific Islanders. Auckland it the largest city of South Pacific Islanders
    Piece-of-piss - easy, not hard to do, as in "didn't take me long to do, it was a piece of piss"
    Pikelet - small pancake usually had with jam and whipped cream
    Piker - someone who gives up easy, slacker
    Piss around - waste time
    Pisshead - someone who drinks a lot of alcohol, heavy drinker
    Piss up - party, social gathering, excuse for drinking alcohol
    Pissed: Drunk
    Plonk - cheap liquor, cheap wine
    Plaster: band-aid
    Pom or Pommie: Someone from Britian.
    Polytechnic – a trade school approximately equating to a community college. However, the definition is murky since Polytechnics have in recent years been able to run university degrees...but they are not quite the same in this complex field of “tertiary” education.
    Polystyrene – Styrofoam
    Porridge - Oatmeal
    Possum – a marsupial, not related to the North American opossum - hated and hunted in NZ since they kill bird eggs and eat tree leaves.
    Postie - Mailman
    Pot plant- not marijuana, but any potted plant
    Pong - bad smell, stink
    Poofter: Derogotory slang usually describing a gay man, or used to describe a male who isn't exhibiting a tough guy image.
    Porkie: A lie. Typically told by a politician. Ie; "He's telling porkies." - Contributed by Frank Macskasy
    Postal code - zip code
    Poxy: Insult or description of unpleasant disease. Ie, "poxy bastard" - insult. "Looking a bit poxy" - illness. - Contributed by Frank Macskasy
    Prang: Noun. Similar to 'ding' (SEE, 'ding') but more extensive damage. Verb: Pranged. Eg; "He pranged the car." - Contributed by Frank Macskasy
    Pregas: Abreviation of pregnant. - Contributed by Hannah Tobin
    Premo: Something considered good, choice, cool, excellent. ie. That car over there is Premo. -
    Pram - baby stroller, baby pushchair
    Pressie – present
    Professor- equal to a North American Senior Professor - often with managerial duties. Assistant or Associate Professors are called tutors or lecturers.
    Pub - bar or hotel that serves liquor
    Pudding - dessert
    puffed- tired and winded
    Pushing up daisies - dead and buried
    Push bike - bicycle
    Pushing shit uphill with a shovel: Hopeless. Or being up against the odds. For example, if there was no chance of you winning a running race you'd be pushing shit uphill with a shovel even trying. - Contributed by John Barker
    Rark up - telling somebody off
    Rattle your dags - hurry up, get moving
    Rellies - relatives, family
    Reckon- I suppose so. I think so
    Rocket - arugula
    Root - have sex, get sex
    Ropeable - very angry
    Ring - to telephone somebody, as in "I'll give you a ring"
    Rubber –eraser
    Rubbish bin- trash can
    Rust bucket - decrepit motor car
    Scarce as hens teeth - very scarce, rare
    Scarfie - university student
    Scull - consume, drink quickly
    Scroggin - hikers high energy food including dried fruits, chocolate
    Serviette - paper napkin
    Sellotape –scotch tape
    Shandy - drink made with lemonade and beer
    Shag – to have sex (but now thanks to Austin Powers, many North Americans know this word.)
    Shark and taties - fish and chips
    Sheila - slang for woman/female
    She'll be right!: Common expression for it (something) will be all right. Will work all right, wull turn out all right. Usually when a quick unprofessional job has been done. Expression often followed by the word 'Mate'.
    Shift – to move –as in “they will shift house” (instead of “they are moving into another house”)
    Shit a brick - exclamation of surprise or annoyance
    Shoot through - to leave suddenly
    Shout - to treat, to buy something for someone, as in "the lunch is my shout"
    serviette: A napkin made of either fabric or absorbent paper
    Sickie - to take a day off work or school because you are sick (or not)
    Skite - to boast, boasting, bragging
    Slip – Landslide
    Sleeping Rough – sleeping outside in one who is homeless or a hobo
    Snarler - sausage
    Sook - cry baby, wimp
    Sparkie - electrician
    spew- to throw up
    Sparrow fart - very early in the morning, sunrise
    Spitting – drizzling rain
    Sprog - child
    Squiz - take a quick look
    Skivies - undershirt
    Sticking plaster, or plaster: band-aid
    Stirrer: trouble-maker, agitator
    Steinie - bottle of Steinlager, brand lager
    Stock- farm animals, livestock
    Stubby - small glass bottle of beer
    Sunday driver - someone who drives very slow
    Supper – desert and coffee or tea in the evening, not a meal
    Sunnies – sunglasses
    Superannuation – Social Security payment
    Ta - thanks
    Take-aways - food to be taken away and eaten, fast food outlet
    Taking a paper – it can mean either taking a course ...or teaching a course at a tertiary institution
    Tangi: A maori word which means funeral ceremony.
    Taranaki Gate: A makeshift gate made from wire and battens.
    Tea - evening meal, dinner (and tea)
    Tenure- a union based “permanent” job
    Tertiary institution – university or polytechnic
    Tick – check. to check a box = tick the box
    Tights – pantyhose
    Tinkle –Make a phone call
    Tip - dump or recycling depot
    Thick as pig shit: Someone who is stupid. Or someone with a low level of intelligence.
    Tinnie: A small amount of marijuana wrapped in aluminium foil. Usual retail; NZ$20 (apparently). - Contributed by Frank Macskasy
    Tinnie House: A (usually) residential house, secretly selling marijuana and other drugs. Often rented for this sole purpose.
    Tiki tour - scenic tour, take the long route
    Togs – swimsuit, swim trunks
    Torch – flashlight
    Tomato sauce: catsup
    Townie: Person living in a town or city, as opposed to a rural lifestyle. Eg; "He's a townie". (In N. America a Townie is usually a derogatory term used by summer residents or college students for poorer rural small town full time residents.)
    Tramping – hiking (e.g. a hiker is a “tramper”, who “tramps”.)
    tracksuit: sweat suit
    Trolley: Shopping cart.
    Truckie: A truck driver.
    Try: a point scored in rugby
    Tuition – “teaching style”. In NZ “Bad Tuition” means a bad teacher - not “high fees”. In N. America “tuition” means the “fees” to pay for education.
    Tutor- Professor
    Twink - white-out
    Underlay – under-carpet ...also used in N America
    Up the duff – pregnant
    Uni- college or university
    Unwashed- as in the “Great Unwashed”: working class, lower middle class
    Ute - small pickup truck
    Vegies – vegetables
    vest: undershirt
    vegemite: spread for toast or bread. Indescribable, but missed by many expat Kiwi's. Bill Tabb describes it miso, "A spread the color of dark molasses, the consistency of cold honey and the flavor of yeasty very salty soy sauce- “an acquired taste, and quite good on warm soft pretzels here in California."
    valet: a person who cleans vehicles... NOT one who parks them!
    Wally - clown, silly person
    Wash-out – a road side area that has been destroyed by river or rain
    wharfie: stevedore
    Wee-bit: A small amount
    Whanau: Family. Used in all sorts of contexts, including immediate and extended families, colleagues, sports teams etc.
    Whinge - complain, moan
    Wobbly - to have a tantrum
    Wops, wop wop - situated off the beaten track, out of the way location
    Yack - to have a conversation with a friend, to talk
    Yam: a South American Andean tuber-like vegetable (not a North American Yam, which is similar to a Kumara)
    Yeah Nah: This can be VERY confusing for non Kiwi's. It generally means "I agree with you, that it isn't..." i.e. 'Australian's can't play rugby aye?' 'Yeah nah, they're USELESS'. - Contributed by Darren Harrison
    You ain't wrong: Another way of saying "That's right", or "Yes".

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    New Zealand


    Its a (very) rough draft...made up ofa collection of dictionaries and my own contributions. I hear new ones every week that should be added, but I generally don't have the time...
    Last edited by JBrit; 2nd January 2014 at 01:45 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    New Zealand


    part 3: As you can see many nouns can have “ie” attached to the end (rellie, brickie, brekkie, bickie, prezzie, chippie, sunnie, truckie, boatie, littlies, oldies, postie, tinnie, sparkie, sickie, scarfie, vegies etc.)
    New Zealand language is a dialect –as is (TV broadcast) North American English common in the USA and Canada, or regional dialectics such as Southern USA and New England dialects. Not only are different words used but different pronunciation is common. Broad accents are different than “cultured” accents and are class-based like the UK. Pronunciation of some common words such as pastels, schedule, macramé, and pita bread are all pronounced in ways that may be quite confusing for North Americans. The plural word “women” often sounds like the singular word “woman”. Buoy is pronounced “boy” instead of boo-eee. Debut is pronounced “Day- boo” with the accent on “boo” instead of “Day- bew”. The kiwi sport, Net Ball sounds like “nipple” to the North American ear. Garage has its accent on the first instead of second syllable. The ending of shown and knopwn is often pronounced like “no-en” and “show-en”. “Wh” is pronounced “f”… except in Whanganui where it is pronounced “w”. Many Scottish names that don’t exist or are very rare in N. America are common in NZ – e.g. Hamish, Angus, and Athol (pronounced Ethel).
    One “goes to hospital” instead of “entering the hospital”. “Sports” are called “Sport” (no “s”, even if plural); “math” is called “maths” (with an “s”).
    Kiwi customs and laws:
    Drive on the left side of the road.
    Walk on the left side (including stairs which may seem awkward for right-handed people).
    Like the rest of the world, the Metric System.
    Do not pass on passing lane if there is a traffic jam; it is considered impolite; you likely will prevented from doing so by irate drivers.
    Flounder is not sold filleted, but whole.
    No tipping anywhere (except in fancy restaurants that cater to tourists).
    Kiwis rarely use napkins (also called serviettes). It can even be insulting to ask for napkins since it may be interpreted as being snooty or “nobby” (meaning nobility). Eating without napkins is a British working class tradition. However you will find napkins in restaurants, and occasionally in some homes – especially when kiwis ask foreigners for dinner (though don’t count on it).
    Kiwis rarely rinse dish soap off dishes when washing them in a sink. They let is simply drip dry with the soap on the dishes.
    One can legally walk in bear feet in most places - on city streets, in public buildings and in stores. (I have even seen one air NZ passenger walk in bear feet on the Auckland Airport tarmac –the one place it is in fact illegal, though no on reprimanded her… or even looked at het twice except American tourists.)
    People often write reminder notes on their hands instead of paper. We need skin colour Twink. (see “Twink” above.
    One often takes shoes off at the door when a guest at another’s houses. Always check to see if shoes are piled up outside first, and bring slippers, because your feet can get quite cold if it is not summer! The debate is open on how many have shoeless houses, but most Kiwi advertisements show people wearing shoes.
    We have an amazingly temperate climate on the North Island – it can vary only 10 degrees Fahrenheit, or a few degrees Celsius between an average warm mid winter day and a cool summer day. Flowers bloom all year long on the North Island. The South island is considerably colder with snow in the winter
    In most of NZ, summer, for the most part, begins with “settled weather” (not rainy or windy) mid to late January (although summer officially starts December 1st).
    For most the summer holidays generally are over by the second week in January, and school children are back to school by the 3rd or 4th week in January.
    Few use screens to keep insects out on windows. Instead, fly spray is used to kill insects and spiders.
    No snakes exist in the wild in NZ, but a couple poisonous spiders exist here such as the Katipo and the new immigrant, the Red Back who are both closely related to the Black Widow.
    Phone numbers, although written with 3, then a space, and four digits, is verbally pronounced with 2 digits a pause, then 2 digits, a pause and then 3 digits which can be confusing to North Americans
    Most kiwis have no central heating and little insulation (with little or no heat in homes - 1/3 of all homes apparently have no heat according the media). Power is far more expensive for those on the average wage than in North America, so perhaps only one room has heat –either a fire, gas (often unventilated) or electric (electric oil heaters and small air heaters that look like hair dryers sitting on the floor). Doors and windows are often left open in the winter for fresh air. Winter (meaning a few frosts a year) is short on the North Island, a bit longer on the South Island.
    Shops and many restaurants usually leave doors wide open - even in cold winter days (It is “not welcoming” to close the door) ...even if it is 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside...and inside. Many will not enter a shop if the door is closed.
    NZ is one of 3 countries in the world where the seasons change at the beginning of the month instead of the Equinox or Solstice… so spring begins at the 1st of September, not the 21st.
    “Autumn”, is used instead of “the fall” for the season; the word “fall” is never used in NZ for the season.
    Although seemingly obvious, it can take a while for a North American to get used to the birds fly north for the winter in the autumn.
    TV can seem very liberal; words banned on US network TV are allowed on NZ’s non-cable TV. However a TV series, or even a station, can start... or suddenly disappear with little notice.
    NZ has an abundance of many seemingly fearsome gangs, including the Hells Angels and the “Mongrel Mob” - even in small towns. Whanganui a city (population 40,000) has at least 5 gangs ranging from the Hell’s Angels with an imposing fortified gang quarters to Neo Nazi gangs. However, in reality they are small gangs and generally keep a very low profile; they are less fearsome that most big city US gangs.
    One’s 21st birthday is a monumental rite of passage in NZ and often celebrated lavishly.
    Violent crime rate is quite low compared to North America, but we have an equally high burglary rate. Police don’t carry guns on their person (they are kept in their cars).
    Rabbits are not loveable. In a rural environment they are to be killed, not loved, since they compete with stock for grass.
    New Zealand is in fact more urban than the USA as a percentage of the population of which ½ live within 100 miles of Auckland.
    Many people have stock (farm animals) in their back yard in rural-like suburban settings.
    “Cities” are often what many North Americans might call small or average sized towns. (A city here is any population area “over 35,000”… as opposed to “over 80,000” in North America.)
    The word “negro” is not thought of as offensive. It is often used to describe a person of African or African American origin. Goliwogs (doll parodies of Africans) are considered cute, not offensive. There are very few people of African descent here.
    Children begin school, year one (same as North American kindergarten), at their 5th birthday...on the day of their birthday, unless on a weekend or school break (holiday).
    When teaching, one has to “take leave” during normal vacation time. Leave is often very limited, compared to vacations in North America in academic environments.
    High School (generally called “college”) has grades that are quite different that North America using achieved (A), merit (M) and excellent (E) as a baselines –roughly equal to C, B, and A, though “achieved” can be used in a pass/fail environment.
    Tertiary education (college) in NZ is confusing – polytechnics and universities often have different amount of years for the same degrees. Polytechnics (community colleges and trade schools) and universities can run the same degree, but they are often worth differently. Generally speaking most university courses are 3 years. A 4th “honours year” also exists. Medical school is 6 years as opposed to 8 years in North America. Students choose majors generally when entering university and generally begin specialization in high school. NZ universities are rated fairly high internationally.
    Drip coffee is rare and has largely been replaced by espresso, cappuccinos and lattes (some of the best in the world). Gourmet drip coffee has made a bit of a comeback in high end cafes in the last year or so. However, people rarely drink brewed coffee at home. Instant coffee is the preferred beverage in homes and at work (along with tea).

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    New Zealand


    Sorry, it only uploaded into 3 parts.
    Last edited by JBrit; 2nd January 2014 at 01:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2009


    I only cross- read through those posts, but have to say that I haven't heard lots of the expressions you mention.., never heard of the word 'anklebiter' in my almost ten years here, for example.As to the napkins (only one example which I remember)- even our fish'n chips shop has napkins sitting on the counter.....

    As to the metric system..., 'like the rest of the world'- except the US?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    Maybe it's the people that I associate with, but when I hear the word "tinnie," it refers to a lightweight aluminium (not "aluminum") boat, as opposed to a package of marijuana (referred to in NZ as "cannabis.")

    Capsicum = (green or red) pepper.

    And for you chippies out there -- in the North Island, a bit of wall framing inserted between two studs to support an attachment is referred to as a "nog." In the South Island, it's a "dwang."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Essex, UK


    Just glanced at this as well, but as a general comment, I think one has to be very careful with generalisations (I have never heard the phone number pronounced like you describe, not all high schools are called colleges, they don't all use the same grading system).

    Not that what you list shouldn't be listed as this could cause confusion to a North American (a lot of the words are used in BE as well, so wouldn't be as confusing to the UK ear), but generalising like this isn't always helpful.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    New Zealand


    Hubby and I just had a read through and giggle. He said it sounds like you've been hanging around a bunch of ozzies, poms, and westies. FYI...if you were a southerner, you would know the difference between a yam, sweet potato, and kumura. A yam is a yam, a sweet potato is a sweet potato, and a kumura is more like a U.S. sweet potato than a yam! :P :P :P

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    Coming from the US, I've found that one of the things more jarring to the ear than unfamiliar words or phrases is the unfamiliar pronunciation of familiar words. For example, for most of my life, I've heard the word "fillet" pronounced without the final "t" enunciated (whether as a noun or a verb) -- that caused a bit of laughter when I used it on my first NZ fishing trip. Certain words of (generally) foreign origin are also pronounced differently in NZ -- in some cases, not even consistently. I still shake my head at the radio advertisement that I heard in Hamilton, urging me to purchase genuine parts for my "Subaru" (accent on second syllable) at "Subaru" (accent on first syllable) Auto Spares. (Well, which is it, then?)

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