Maori Language Terms
New Zealand is a bilingual country and Te Reo is our other national language. It's not as widely spoken as English but you might hear some of these words come up in conversation.
Kia ora – hello, goodbye, thank you.
Haere mai – welcome
Haere rā - goodbye
Mōrena - good morning
Whānau – family
Wāhine - woman
Tāne - man
Whare – house
Āe – Yes
Ehē – No
Kai – Food
Kai moana – Seafood
Tēnā koe — Greetings to you (said to one person)
Tēnā koutou — Greetings to you (said to three or more people)
Kei te pēhea koe? — How’s it going? (said to one person)
Kei te pai — I am good
Ka kite anō au i a koe — Until I see you again (goodbye to one person)
E noho rā - Goodbye (said to someone staying)
Mana – Honour, respect, authority
Tapu - Sacred, has spiritual significance
Ka Pai! - Good, well done
Not sure how to pronounce these words or saying? Check out this Maori pronunciation guide.
Try these out for yourself on an epic adventure around New Zealand!
Kiwi Language Terms
In order to relate to the locals you will have to be able to communicate, so here’s a few Kiwi terms to get you started...
Eh/Aye – compulsory addition to the end of a rhetorical question... "Last night was bloody good, eh"
"ie" – often found at the end of shortened words, e.g. pressie (present), hottie (hot person), tantie (tantrum), cuzzie (cousin)
"As" - also added to the end of words: "cold as", "fun as", "drunk as", "mean as" -used to place emphasis on the word preceding 'as'.
Sweet as – great, as in "sweet as pie"... "That bungy was sweet as!"
Heaps - used instead of "lots"... "We saw heaps of dolphins in Kaikoura."
"Gap it" - to leave/exit the situation
Hard case – someone who has a big personality, may do unusual things but basically is a real laugh... "Our bus driver's hard case!"
No worries/No wakas! – no problem!
Dairy - a corner shop or news agent that sells milk, icec reams, newspapers etc
Bro – friend or brother
Cuz – friend or cousin
Chur bro – "cheers, thanks" or "that’s cool, my friend"
Good on ya mate -well done
She’ll be right mate – it’ll be OK
Not even – "no, it’s not" or "that’s not true"
Ta – thanks
True? – surprised question, as in "is that true?"
Togs – swimsuit
Jandals – flip-flops
Sunnies – sunglasses
Suss – to figure out
Wop-wops – out in the back country (middle of nowhere)
Piker – someone who backs out of doing something
Tiki Tour – to drive around casually taking the scenic route
Gawk – to stare
Pack a sad – to get upset and sulk
Back in the day - an undetermined amount of time in the past
Nek Minute - "next" minute - used to create suspense when telling a great story.
Get on a tiki tour and chat to the locals.
WANT MORE? READ OUR BLOG: New Zealand through the eyes of a Brit – Part 2: Kiwis vs Australians – a lingo lesson
Sam Berwick gives you a lesson on common Kiwi lingo and how to really pronounce those crazy New Zealand place names.