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How to Speak New Zealand for North Americans

An “Afghan” really is the name of a delicious New Zealand cookie, not someone being racist.

1. When saying goodbye, Kiwis say “See you later.”

Even if they won’t be seeing you later. You can also just say “See ya” as a way of saying goodbye.

2. We don’t say “You’re welcome”

Instead of saying you’re welcome, try

– no problem/probs
– no worries
– sweet as (less common)

3. Feel free to use “Cheers mate” as an alternative to thank you.

Especially if someone is handing you a drink, but it’s just said as a thank you rather than a toast.

4. A thong is still a g-string here.

In Australia, people call flip flops “thongs.” If you say “thong” here when referring to shoes, we’ll giggle at you (nicely). We traditionally call flip flops “jandals” but flip flops works too.

5. Miscellaneous

I love to notice different word usage when I’m in the US, here are some to watch for when you’re visiting New Zealand.

– We wait “in line” not “on line”

– We say “I’ll write to you” not “I’ll write you.”

– We say lollies for non-chocolate candy, and say chocolate rather than candy for chocolate bars.

– We call fries either fries or “hot chips” – usually fries means shoestring cut like McDonalds fries and hot chips are chunkier.

– A cooler is called a chili bin (chilly as in cold, but spelled chili).

– We call all cookies “biscuits” or “bikkies” (pronounced bick-eze with the emphasis on the bick).

– An Afghan really is a name of a cookie, not someone being racist.

Do you like to notice different word usage when you’re traveling?

What fun differences have you spotted?

photo credit: Platform 3 via photopincc

1 Comment


  1. // Reply

    I would have said ?thongs? and become a laughing stroke in New Zealand. However after reading your tips I will take care and use only flip flops. I hope this little language guidance would be very effective and I will keep it handy while travelling to New Zealand.

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