Every country has its own linguistic eccentricities, but New Zealander language is on another level. You can become lost in translation in a place where ‘yes, nay’ is a form of argument, ‘tramping’ is trekking, ‘egg’ is calling someone a clown, and ‘Kiwi’ is the name of the entire population. But don’t worry, we’re about to make your journey a lot easier by exposing you to ten everyday terminology that you must encounter when traveling.
Chur (chur) – Kiwi slang
“You can take my car tomorrow, mate,” for example. “Oh, mate, chur!”
This is a show of profound thankfulness, almost a spontaneous exclamation of awe. It’s undervalued to perfection, as is much of New Zealand slang. The essence found in many long poems of sincere thanks and appreciation is condensed in this single syllable. When you’re really rescuing a pal out of a mound of bittersweet pickles, or when you’ve unexpectedly proven yourself to be a stranger’s savior, a chur could be on the horizon.
As in, “Well done, mate.”
This one doesn’t require much explanation. If you’ve never been to New Zealand before and have no idea what this word means, you’ll comprehend its entire scope and range in Kiwi vernacular by the time you exit the airport. The words preceding it can have a lot of weight and gravity depending on the context and intonation. It comes in helpful when you’ve been introduced to a large group of people and haven’t remembered even one of their names. Men and women have been calling each other “buddy” for years to avoid the unpleasantness of having to inquire someone’s name again.
Sweet as (sweet-az)
“It’s sweet as, dude, just get it back to me as soon as you can.”
This is a truly lovely piece of Kiwi slang. It’s adaptable and concise, and it can be employed when you’re stumped. It might indicate “thank you,” “that’s all right,” “no worries,” “you’re welcome,” “good one,” “congratulations,” or “that’s amazing.” It will almost always be accompanied by a smile.
Mean (been) – Kiwi slang
As in, “Did you witness that All Blacks try?” That was cruel!”
Although you would assume this word has bad connotations at first, it can actually be used to describe anything amazing. Maybe you won $50 on a scratchie (scratch card). That’s cruel. The All Blacks deliver Australia a thrashing in rugby? That is extremely cruel. Even though you only paid for one, a kind-hearted bakery employee lets you take home all of their remaining pies because it’s the end of the day? That’s mean, bro.
“I wouldn’t eat that pie, friend.” It appears to be a little strange.”
This acronym for suspicious can refer to something that appears or feels (or is) suspect, untrustworthy, or dubious. It’s the normal understated Kiwi style of describing everything from a 3 a.m. Chinese takeout to a car dangling off the side of a cliff.
Snags (snags) – Kiwi slang
As in, “There’s nothing like a slice of white bread, some ketchup, and a snag at the grill.”
Sausages in their purest form. If you’re asked to pass the snags at a formal gathering, celebratory occasion, or huge lunch, it’s safe to assume that a platter of sausages is nearby. Look around, identify the problems, then proceed with the transfer. Snag etiquette dictates that you snag yourself a snag before handing it on.
As in, “It’s scorching!” Grab your bathing suit and let’s go to the beach.”
This slang is most frequently heard in the summer when the weather is pleasant and you’re near a body of water. Togs are swimmers or bathers, often known as a swimsuit or board shorts. Anything that keeps your modesty intact and saves you from being arrested while on a public beach, swimming pool, or river.
“How’s your dog?” for example. He’s improved. He smoked it.”
“Carked it” basically implies “to die.” It can be used to describe the fatal state of anything and everything, whether it’s your automobile, microwave, Uncle Jeremy, hamster, or electric drill. If it’s beyond repair and destined for the tomb or the scrapyard, you might say it’s been carked.
As in, “I’m having a bad day today.” Last night I went a touch too heavy on the turps.”
This slang term refers to turpentine and is used by both old and young drinkers. It’s a phrase commonly used to explain someone’s sudden absence from work, as in, “Why is Jill not here?” Was she on the turps the night before?” or to express excitement about the approaching weekend, as in “Can’t wait for this Friday to be done so we can get on the turps, mate.”
As in, “Ooooh, Kev has a lady!”
Missus is slang for a person’s significant female partner. If the relationship is new and the lady in issue has not yet been introduced to the Romeo’s close acquaintances, she is referred to as Romeo’s missus. “Where’s your missus, Romeo?” and so on. If the connection is established, “missus” may be prefaced with “the,” making the title more official – and acknowledging that the fine woman in question has the power to summon her Romeo from the tavern whenever she thinks he’s had enough fun for one evening.