When you are emigrating to New Zealand from the UK there is a lot to learn, including understanding the slang that New Zealanders use on a daily basis. When you get jobs in New Zealand and you are getting to know your co-workers, you will want to understand the slang terms that they are using. Otherwise you might find yourself a bit confused!
So, here are some examples of New Zealand slang that you should know in order to understand your new Kiwi friends and workmates. They might sound strange at first, but after a while you will start to understand what everyone is talking about. And of course, if you are confused just ask – Kiwis are friendly and they will help you out!
Tramping simply means hiking, whether it is a simply day hike or a longer overnight trip. Kiwis are generally very outdoorsy people so they are likely to go tramping on the weekend. New Zealand is very naturally beautiful and there are a lot of great hiking trails and natural parks to explore.
The Wop Wops
The term “the wop wops” refers to somewhere that is out in the middle of nowhere, far from civilisation. Since New Zealand has such a small population, you can find many places that are “in the wop wops.” This means that if you love tramping (see above) you will find lots of opportunities for beautiful secluded hikes.
This means broken or ruined. If your car was in a crash you might say that that it is munted. Even Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, told journalists that the main sewer trunk in the city was “seriously munted” after the earthquakes. Usually it means that it is very badly broken, beyond hope of repair.
If you are putting on your togs it means that you are going to the beach or the pool, as togs are your swimming costume. In other parts of the world they might be referred to as a bathing suit, swimsuit or swimming clothes. You’re going to want to get some togs if you are heading to New Zealand, as there will be many gorgeous beaches for you to enjoy.
If you are going to the beach or the pool you might also put on your jandals, which are your flip flops or thongs. New Zealanders wear jandals a lot, especially in the summer. They are easy to slip on and off and perfect for those beautiful sunny New Zealand days.
In the UK you might say that you are going to “suss something out” which means that you are attempting to work out a confusing situation. However, New Zealanders use this term a little bit differently. They use it to refer to someone who they think seems a little suspicious. “That person over there looks a little bit suss.”
The phrase “sweet as” is used a lot in New Zealand to describe anything that is good. So, a cup of coffee, a bottle of beer, a weekend trip or today’s surf conditions might be “sweet as.” You are probably wondering, “sweet as what?” That’s the thing, the sentence is never completed. Perhaps the comparison is just left to your imagination. The word “as” can be added to an entire range of adjectives in order to amplify them. For example, something can be cool as, cheap as, funny as, hot as, etc.
When someone says that something was “choice” it means the same as something that is “sweet as.” Basically, it’s really great. Anything can be choice, from the music at a party to the muffin platter at your office meeting. Another word that can be used in the same meaning is “mint.” It also translates to “cool” or “great” and can be used to describe anything you think is excellent.
These are just a few of the strange slang words that New Zealanders will use. When you move to New Zealand and you are working and socialising with kiwis, understanding the slang will help you to know what is going on! There is a lot of slang to learn at first, but after a while you will get used to it.