Ready for Heaps of Sweet As Kiwi Lingo, Mate?

Nicole Renard is a student at Chapman University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Wellington, New Zealand.

Language can be a huge decision making factor when you’re thinking about where to study abroad. If you are fluent in Spanish, then Spain may be a good place for you. If you are thinking about developing your German, then Germany may be a great choice.

As for me, I wouldn’t survive one week on my own in a country that didn’t speak English. Automatically, my choices were narrowed. When I chose to study abroad in New Zealand, I quite honestly based my decision off of high reviews from friends, the fact that The Lord of the Rings was filmed there, and that the locals speak English. Other than that I had no idea what New Zealand was all about.

All of that changed when I stepped off the plane and was immediately welcomed by the breathtaking beauty of the nature surrounding me. The Kiwis, people from New Zealand, made it so easy for me to plunge head first into their culture and way of life.

On the way to Stoneyridge Winery on Waiheke Island
On the way to Stoneyridge Winery on Waiheke Island

This small country has way more to offer than I ever anticipated and has taught me something new every day.

How lush is New Zealand? On the ferry ride over from Auckland to Waiheke Island.
How lush is New Zealand? On the ferry ride over from Auckland to Waiheke Island.

The native language in New Zealand is indeed English, but you will quickly learn if you study abroad here that they speak really fast and sometimes sound funny. Kiwi slang and lingo was hard for me to get used to, so I’ve created a guide of common words and terms they use. When you come to visit New Zealand, you can dive right in and sound just like a local.

Kiwi Lingo

Sweet as Cool or awesome
Dodgy Sketchy, dysfunctional
Heaps Tons, a lot of
Jelly Jell-o
Mates Friends
Dairy Corner store or grocery store
Kia Ora Hello, Welcome, Thank you
Whānau Family
No worries It’s okay, not a problem
Jandals Sandals, Flip flops
Tomato sauce Ketchup (they say tomato like “toe-mat-oh”)
You’re all good It’s okay, Thank you, of course
Jersey Sweatshirt or sweater
Wop-wops Middle of no where
Tramping Hiking
Torch Flashlight
Papers Class or courses
Biscuit Cookie
The kiwifruit here is REALLY amazing. It’s so much bigger than in the U.S. and 10 times more delicious!

Now you know all you need to know before you come to New Zealand and sign up for your papers. You can grab heaps of biscuits, tomato sauce and jelly at the dairy to go tramping with your mates in the wop-wops. Don’t wear jandals as the weather can be quite dodgy here, and be sure to pack a jersey and a torch just in case! Sweet as mate! Have a great time!

Cape Palliser, New Zealand

Want to pick up Kiwi slang like Nicole? Learn more about ISA’s study abroad and internship programs in New Zealand.