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New Zealand is a bilingual country: English and Te Reo are our national languages.

Te Reo is not as widely spoken as English, but you’ll often hear some of these words and expressions in Kiwi conversation.  

MAORI LANGUAGE FOR BEGINNERS:

  • Kia Ora (key-or-a) – hello, goodbye, thank you.
  • Haere Mai (high-reh-my) – welcome
  • Haere Ra (high-reh-rah) – goodbye
  • Whanau (far-no) – family
  • Whare – house
  • Ai – Yes
  • Kau – No
  • Kai – Food
  • Kai moana – Seafood
  • Kia ora tatou — Hello everyone
  • Tena koe — Greetings to you (said to one person)
  • Tena koutou — Greeting to you all
  • Kei te pehea koe? — How’s it going?
  • Kei te pai — Good
  • Tino pai — Really good
  • Ka kite ano — Until I see you again (Bye)
  • Hei konei ra — See you later
  • Mana – respect, status earned through actions
  • Ka Pai! – Good Work!

Whenever you are in New Zealand, you need to communicate, so here are some Kiwi terms for the beginning.

KIWI LANGUAGE FOR BEGINNERS:

  • 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)
  • “As” – also added to the end of words: “cold as”, “fun as”, “drunk 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 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 wakas! – no problem!
  • Dairy – a corner shop or news agent that sells milk, 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, like “is that true?”
  • Togs – swimwear
  • 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 gaze
  • 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 an amazing story.