Introduction to Kiwi English

Kiwis (the people, not the animals or the fruit) love to shorten words. Combined with kiwi slang the New Zealand people have created their own language.

We barely moved house and were busy unpacking boxes when a man walked up our driveway. He introduced himself as Bob, the neighbour. He had organised a 'barbie' and invited us to join him and a few others. Thank god, I had learned enough of the Kiwi English to understand he did not invite us over to play with dolls.

New Zealand people love to shorten their words. The 'barbie' is a barbecue. A 'sammie' is a sandwich, a gift is called a 'prezzie' and chickens are 'chooks'. To name a few.

You know your English is good. You passed your IELTS (English Language Test) with a good score and you understand English spoken programs on tv without subtitles. Your perception will change once you move to or visit  New Zealand. Even native English speakers from England or the US have trouble understanding the Kiwi English. The first year I was in New Zealand I often wondered what it was the other person was saying and even now after three years I someties have trouble understanding what is said or meant.

Besides their love for shortening words, which I do like but have not started soing myself, there also is the kiwi slang. English mixed with Moari words, their own expressions and sayings and their own pronounciation of English. At first you think it sounds a lot like the Australian English (don't say this to a Kiwi though) but later on you will learn the differences. Phrases you will hear often are: 'ta', 'easy as', 'she'll be alright', 'no worries' and 'good as gold, mate'.

Bob told us he knew we were moving in today. What the.... how does a complete stranger know we are moving today? Well, from the real estate agent. Relocated from big city Wellington to the rural surroundings of the Wairarapa we had a lot to learn. People here know each other, talk to each other and most importantly help each other.


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