Common Kiwi Words and Sayings



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Kiwi Words

Key Phrases for Talking to / Understanding a Kiwi

Some of you fellas might be having a hard time understanding some of what Bret, Jemaine & Rhys are saying in Flight of the Conchords (Kiwis have a habit of mumbling, speaking quickly and flattening vowels). So here are a key few phrases which you might hear them say in the TV series, and what they mean amongst fellow Kiwis.

  • G’day mate
    One of the most common things you'll hear in New Zealand and by a Kiwi. An Australian saying, but very commonly used in NZ. Simply put it is a friendly 'Hello'.

  • Choice, bro!
    A way of saying that something is excellent. 'Choice' is a very versatile word in NZ meaning anything from OK, cool, I agree, I understand, it's been good... to a million other things, but always positive.

  • Fush & chups
    Actually Kiwis are saying Fish & Chips - a popular and, generally, quite healthy meal, bought in local 'takeaways' and cooked to perfection there and then on the spot. Burgers are great in NZ too, using fresh ingredients, locally bought and generally come in the one size of 'huge' - with pineapple, beetroot, cheese, tomato, onion, as well as, the actual contents of what you ordered i.e. a Bacon & Egg burger.

  • Hangi
    A traditional Maori meal made by slow baking food, over the course of a day (and drinking lots of beer along the way, in informal gatherings), in pits in the earth and results in a very fresh, moist and tasty style of food (typically meat & vegetables, often accompanied by Kumara - a sweet potato).

  • Pakeha
    A phrase initially coined by the Maori to descrbe the European settlers and argument continues to this day as to whether that original usage was intended to describe them as pale skinned or, frankly, 'with a skin surprisingly similar to pigs'. In modern times it is simply used as a cultural reference to Kiwis of European descent (without the piggy bit).

  • Chilly bin
    An icebox that forms an integral part of any summer holiday, sporting event or student piss-up and is used to keep your beer cool, as well as, for sitting on (practical lot us Kiwis).

  • Jandals
    A phrase unique to NZ referring to the beach footware that is like a basic sandal with a thong between the big toe & the next one, which holds the whole thing together (called 'thongs' in Australia - to much amusement globally).

  • Judder bar
    A speed hump in the road i.e. the car 'judders' when it goes over one.

  • Doing the ton
    Getting your car to one hunderd miles an hour.

  • Fanny
    Like Britain, referring to the private parts of a woman, vice your bum.

  • Good as Gold or Good on ya mate
    General phrases used to express happiness or a confirmation that everything is A'OK!

  • Hard case
    A funny or ironic character. Kiwi's would describe the Flight of the Conchords as 'quite hard-cased' (with the 'quite' reflecting the natural Kiwi reticence to go all the way out on a limb).

  • Knackered, Tit's up, Sucked a kumara
    3 phrases all rougly meaning that something is not working i.e. a possible real scenario could be "Yeah, the car's knackered, the whole day has gone completely tit's up - man, it sucks a kumara!".

  • Thick as shit
    You can probably work this one out - somebody who is pretty stupid.

  • Pack a wobbly or Crack the shits
    To lose your cool or become annoyed.

  • Root
    As Kiwi's proudly boast in London bars, they're quite keen to describe the Kiwi, NZ's national bird... and themselves, as one who 'eats roots & leaves'. Although in their case, they are actually talking about having sex vice any nocturnal forest activity (well, not that sort of activity anyway).

If you have any questions about NZ words or phrases that you heard on the show or at your local Antipodean bar, feel free to e-mail them through (to contact [at] and I'll do my best to include them.

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