Kiwi Slang Decoded: Unraveling the Quirky Language of New Zealand

Hey there, fellow language enthusiasts and culture explorers! Today, we’re diving into the world of Kiwi slang, where “chilly bin” is something that keeps your stuff chilly, and “jandals” are more than just flip-flops. If you’ve ever been curious about the unique and quirky language of New Zealand, you’re in for a treat.

Sweet As, Bro!

Before we get started, let me tell you, New Zealanders have a knack for adding a twist to the English language. It’s a delightful blend of British, Maori, and Pacific Island influences, resulting in a linguistic wonderland that’s both endearing and a tad confusing for newcomers.


  1. “Sweet As”

Let’s begin with one of the most iconic Kiwi phrases: “Sweet as.” It’s not about sugar or desserts, but rather an expression of approval. When a Kiwi says, “That burger was sweet as,” they mean it was excellent, awesome, or top-notch. It’s like their version of saying, “It’s all good.”

  1. “Bro”

You’ll hear this one everywhere. “Bro” isn’t just for brothers; it’s a term of endearment used for friends, acquaintances, or even strangers. Kiwis throw it around like confetti. “Hey, bro, how’s it going?” is a standard greeting in New Zealand.

  1. “Chilly Bin”

Now, imagine you’re at a Kiwi picnic, and someone asks you to grab a chilly bin. What would you think? Well, don’t look for a bin filled with cold things! It’s actually a cooler or an ice chest used to keep drinks and food cold.

  1. “Jandals”

While the rest of the world might call them flip-flops or thongs, Kiwis have their own word: “jandals.” This term is short for “Japanese sandals,” a nod to their origin. So, don’t forget to pack your jandals for a day at the beach!

  1. “Heaps”

In Kiwi lingo, “heaps” means “a lot” or “plenty.” For example, if someone says, “There are heaps of kiwi birds in New Zealand,” they mean there are loads of them.

  1. “She’ll Be Right”

Here’s a classic Kiwi attitude summed up in a phrase. When Kiwis say, “She’ll be right,” they mean that everything will work out just fine, no worries. It’s a laid-back, “no need to stress” kind of saying.


Origins and Influences

New Zealand’s unique slang is a reflection of its rich cultural history. It blends Maori, Pacific Island, and British English influences with a sprinkle of humor and down-to-earth charm.

The Maori language, Te Reo, has also contributed words like “whanau” (family) and “kia ora” (hello). It’s a beautiful example of how cultures can come together to create something truly special.

So, whether you’re planning a trip to New Zealand or just curious about the linguistic quirks of this incredible country, keep these phrases in mind. They’re like little keys that unlock the heart of Kiwi culture.

Feel free to drop these phrases into your conversations, and you’ll instantly connect with the friendly locals. Just remember, when in doubt, a friendly “Kia ora” (hello) and a “Thank you, mate” will always go a long way in the land of the long white cloud.

So, there you have it, our Kiwi slang adventure! Give these phrases a go, and before you know it, you’ll be chatting away like a true blue (or should I say, true green?) Kiwi. Sweet as, bro!