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Top 10 ‘Kiwi-isms’: Words and things to know before you go to New Zealand

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While beauty and adventure may be the pinnacle reasons for your hop across the pond, you’ll enjoy taking in some of the bits 'n' pieces that add to New Zealand’s culture and their ‘Kiwi way’.

To help with your Kiwi education and to ensure you’re not the tourist with the bubble above their head when the energetic local says “Aye, mate, catch the AB's at the weekend?!” below is a ‘mint’ selection of some of the most common and amusing Kiwi-isms:

1. Kia ora

This Kiwi greeting offers a friendly hello and welcome in New Zealand’s native Maori language. It's literal translation is "be well/healthy".

2. Choice, bro!

'Choice' is a very versatile word in New Zealand meaning anything from OK, cool, I agree, I understand, it's been good to a million other things. 'Choice' always has a positive connotation attached to it.

3. Fush ‘n’ chups

Fish and chips are a Kiwi classic! Prepped at the local ‘takeaway’ shops on every beach town corner, a must have when visiting New Zealand. To be enjoyed and consumed on the beach, with your friends and a cold cider in hand (see #10). Best served with Watties Tomato Sauce (ketchup).

4. Sweet as (or some version of the this)

Multiple ways to use this little gem. Can be used to imply ‘everything is well’ or used to express exacerbation or excitement. If you haven’t seen this video, get with the times and check it out for some examples.

5. Aye!?

The Kiwi linguistic catch all! Used to phrase questions, answer questions or dodge questions. It’s literally, the most passive aggressive word on the NZ market. With forever ascending intonation and the word ‘aye’, you can say no wrong in New Zealand because the conversational ball is constantly being thrown back into play. Wicked smart, aye?

6. Whitakers

It’s New Zealand chocolate. It’s the real deal. It’s what you crave in any hemisphere. Perfect for afternoon tea (snack time) and pre-bedtime. It’s available everywhere you need it to be: small towns, big towns, Four Squares, Pak n Saves, petrol stations etc. Dark chocolate almond is a fan favorite but then again, Whitakers can do no wrong. You'll quickly denounce your loyalty to Hershey's. You'll buy ten blocks of Whitakers as 'gifts' and come Christmas only have two left somehow. You'll try it. You'll love it.

7. Yeah Nah

Hard to explain the meaning of these two ‘words’ used in conjuncture with one another. Typically used to imply indifference, unsureness or on the flip side, to concur or agree with something. Currently, a video ad campaign by "Health Promotion Agency" utilizes "yeah nah" in their skit about drinking in moderation.

8. Full on

When something is very real, big or intense. For example: “She was a bit full on” implies that the chick was kind of over the top and intense. Or you could say “Ya bro, this party is going to be full on” which means that it’s a legit party so act and dress accordingly, bro!

9. AB’s or The All Blacks

Do yourself a favor, pull out your google machines and educate yourself on the following: The Haka and Richie McCaw. While you're at it, you might as well check out Dan Carter, especially if you're female.You can't turn up in New Zealand without knowing a bit about their nations sport and its' rich history. Rumor is that the AB's are due to play on Chicago soil this November. See article for detail.

10. Scrumpys Cider

‘Strong as’ and in a ‘big as’ bottle, something about Scrumpy’s screams ‘Kiwi Summer’. The perfect beach day or BBQ pairing, but beware of this ciders potency. It can energize your summer bliss or have you passed out, snoozing on the beach in your bikini, sand covered and with your legs sprawled. Not a good look.

Beached as, Heaps Beached!
Beached as, Heaps Beached! theinspirationroom.com

Beached as, Heaps Beached!

This video, showcasing the Kiwi accent, mocks their use of 'sweet as' among other things. If you haven’t seen this video, get with the times and check it out for some examples.

Dan Carter and the AB's
Dan Carter and the AB's wikipedia.org

Dan Carter and the AB's

Dan Carter is one of the many good looking athletes that suit up for the NZ AB's. Also, keep an ear out for the announcement about an All Blacks match on US Chicagoan Soil! The rumor is that the All Blacks will play the US Rugby Team this November in Chicago. See article

'Say Yeah, Nah' Campaign
'Say Yeah, Nah' Campaign http://www.sayyeahnah.org.nz/

'Say Yeah, Nah' Campaign

This campaign run by New Zealands Health Promotion Agency, is a great example of how Kiwi's use these two little words together. The videos are designed to mitigate some of problems associated with social drinking, especially within the New Zealand under 21 crowd.

Scrumpy's Hard Cider
Scrumpy's Hard Cider Halsey Ward

Scrumpy's Hard Cider

The unofficial, official sponsor of 'day drinking' and deck bbq's. Scrumpy isn't the only brand of cider worth sipping on either. And if 'hard cider' is a bit too full on for you, check on this video by Rekorderlig and give some of their inventive flavors a go! Tis a cider for every season! Yum. 

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