Nostalgia (And An Impromptu Lesson On Kiwi Slang!)


Unless you are a Kiwi (or an Aussie who understands Kiwi slang), some of this post may sound like a load of gibberish! This wasn’t intentional, it’s just the way it worked out. Hence I have now added a list of Kiwi Slang to the bottom of this post to enlighten you. Or amuse you. Or confuse you. This may be particularly helpful to my UK and US readers! But first, here is the original post …


I’ve had the weirdest feeling of déjà vu lately with certain moments or things sending me on a trip down memory lane.

Silly little things, like taking my jandals off while wearing a long skirt in order to drive. This takes me way back to the early 90’s as it’s something my mum used to do all the time and something I’ve found myself just starting to do. Sometimes I feel like I’m having a weird out of body experience and I have actually become her! It’s such a strange sensation.

Other things that have given me a sense of nostalgia lately are:

Rainy school days:

On afternoons that were bucketing down with rain my mum used to collect us from school and on those days (and those rainy days only!) we were allowed to have a Milo and toast with Marmite so I have fond memories of rain pattering on the roof while my sister and I would sit at the dining room table enjoying our aftrenoon snack. This is something I fully intend to do with my boys when they’re older (on the days I happen to be home at school pick up time anyway!).

Mince Pies:

I had severe asthma as a child and spent a whole lot of time in hospital and every time I was discharged it became a tradition to get a mince pie from a bakery on the way home. And sometimes a cream doughnut (cream filled bun coated in icing sugar and often with a dollop of jam, not a round donut like Homer favours on The Simpsons!). A mince pie and tomato sauce are still a favourite that certainly remind me of those early childhood years in and out of hospital wards.


Coke reminds me of my mum and step dads wedding when I was 5. Why? Because I wasn’t allowed one at the reception! Mum was afraid I would spill it on my very white bridesmaid dress but my new step sister was allowed (she was 8). Much to my disdain of course!

American Idol:

Mum and I started watching this together when she was sick (the 2nd season). This being the final season and all, the looking back has brought with it intense nostalgia – those clips of footage just seen so old fashioned which makes me realise just how long she has been gone (and how far reality TV has come in it’s presentation!).

My local dairy:

Our local hasn’t changed a bit and totally reminds me of childhood trips to pick up milk with my mum who was driving in bare feet after having removed her jandals. Much like I do now! Nothing much has changed except instead of two little girls in the backseat I have two little boys causing a ruckus!

Were you sweet as in understanding all that? Yeah, nah?

You may think it was pretty hard case that we go to the dairy for our milk. Or you may be a little suss that a dairy isn’t what you have in mind! Below are some translations for you to make some sense of this post. So go and take a squizz! It’s not as dodgy as it all sounds.

Quick Guide to Kiwi Slang

(and a few product descriptions for the outside of Oz folk)

Kiwi = New Zealander. A Kiwi is a NZ Native flightless bird. Not a fruit! In NZ a Kiwi (as in the fruit) is actually called a Kiwifruit!
Jandals = Flip Flops / Thongs
Thongs = G-string style underwear
Togs = Swimsuit
Marmite = An alternative to the disgusting Vegemite spread *ducks for cover* – not to be mistaken for the sticky mess that is English marmite!
Chilly Bin = One of those bins that keep everything cold! Eskie I think you call it in Oz.
Milo = Chocolate malt drink (Aussie’s know this one)
Dairy = Corner store/convenience store. NOT a dairy farm with cows. Think Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy!
Yeah, nah = No
Tomato Sauce = Ketchup
Knackered = Exhausted
Flannel = Face Cloth
Hard Case = A way of describing someone we think is funny
Mate = Friend
Wop Wops = The middle of nowhere ‘I’m stuck in the wop wops’
Piss = ‘I’m on the piss’ would mean I’m drinking alcohol
Squizz = Take a look at something ‘Let me have a squizz?’
Munted = Broken
She’ll be ‘right = Don’t worry, it will all work out fine
Bach = Holiday home
Chocka = Full (as in ‘the bus was chocka with passengers’)
Half Pie = Pronounced ‘Ha-pie’ it means doing something half heartedly
Tramping = Hiking
Ta = Thank you
Duvet = Doona / stuffed blanket on bed covered in a duvet cover (ha!)
Tiki Tour = Means driving with no destination in mind or taking the long way to go somewhere
Dodgy = Something or someone looks suss (suspicious!) or for example a rope swing tied to a tree may look too dodgy to swing on because it looks as though it would break
Stoked = Pleased / happy
Sweet = ‘Cool’ or ‘All good’. ‘Sweet as’ is a common phrase when agreeing to do something. It is not a description of something that tastes sweet!
Fizzy Drink = Soda (Coke/Lemonade etc)
Choice = Awesome
Bugger All = Doing nothing ‘I’m doing bugger all today, should we meet up?’

Do you have the same trip down memory lane sometimes? Something innocuous that jumps out to bite you with nostalgia?

Which is your favourite Kiwi slang word or phrase?

Linking up with: #IBOT @ Essentially Jess

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29 thoughts on “Nostalgia (And An Impromptu Lesson On Kiwi Slang!)

  1. Love this, Haidee. My husband is a kiwi and uses these terms on a daily basis. The girls use them regularly as well. A washer is definitely a flannel in their eyes, the doona is called a duvet and the corner store is called the dairy. It’s funny you mentioned yeah-na. I thought it was just a Dave thing, but it turns out it’s a kiwi thing. I’m feeling quite outnumbered in this house. Thankfully they haven’t started using the word jandals yet 🙂
    Renee Wilson recently posted…Taking time out for meMy Profile

    1. Yeah, nah, it’s most definitely a Kiwi thing! I say it ALL THE TIME. I’m not just writing yeah, nah in this comment either, I would actually have said that in answer! Haha. We ALL do it A LOT. It’s probably as annoying as ‘like’ to foreigners! Cos ‘like’ being used frequently by teenage girls is SO ANNOYING!

  2. There’s lots of similar slang there! Mince pie threw me. You mean a meat pie, right? To me, a mince pie is a pie we have at Christmas, a tiny pie filled with spicy, minced fruits. My friends mum came over from Invercargill and omg, her slang threw me hugely. She told me she’d been up early to lux the carpet. I was so confused- lux is a brand of soap flake here. It took us a while to decipher- she had vacuumed or “electroluxed” the carpet! We laughed so hard she asked for a snowtex, only to be met with a blank look- she meant a tissue?! Haha!
    Amy @ Handbagmafia recently posted…School Uniforms & the Gender AgendaMy Profile

    1. That must just be an Invercargill thing (they’re a special bunch down there!). Haha. I wouldn’t have had a clue what she was on about either!! Didn’t even know we had a brand of tissue called a Snowtex and I would have been confused about Lux as that is a brand of bodywash here! What the fuck is a soap flake?! And mince pie is a pastry pie with mince! If you ask for a meat pie how do they know what type you want? Mince, mince and cheese, steak and cheese, steak and mushroom … ?!

  3. I realised this morning that I have not only become my mother (in far too many ways to list!) But also my grandmother’s yes very much both of them. After I had my shower I put talc on under my arms and lifted both (itty bitty tiny) boobs and put it under there and in between my thighs! Seriously I am not even joking!!! I am 45 not 105 and I have itty bitty boobs not a freaking huge suffocating chest like they did!
    [email protected] recently posted…Surprise! (ps it’s long I’m sorry!)My Profile

    1. Hahaha! Did you have enough to lift?! I would never think to put talcuim powder under my arms, letalone under my boobs! That is hilarious!

    1. Ha! Nope, we have stolen nothing from you Aussies – you just like to play the big bad bully and pretend we did because there are more of you! Haha.

  4. I honestly thought the dairy was where the cows were!
    Also mince pies to me are the sweet fruit pies you have at Christmas. A meat pie is a meat pie. (Crazy that ;))
    Isn’t it funny that you’re picking up your mum’s habits even though she isn’t around any more? It must be quite lovely in a way, I would imagine. Like she’s still close by. xx
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…There’s No Place Like Home #IBOTMy Profile

    1. It’s quite funny Jess, I even dress like her! I always remember she only wore skirts and never pants and now that I have her exact same figure I know why! Skirts are so much more flattering on our pear shaped bodies (though my husband begs to differ and seems to think men like a large shapely bum!). LOL

  5. I knew the jandals but there are few distinctly Kiwi ones. The challenge for you Kiwis is to be understood by us Aussies, and then us Aussies have to be understood by the rest of the world (and Kiwis get lumped in with us). No offence of course.
    Kathy recently posted…Things that make you smileMy Profile

    1. Haha, I get mistaken for an Aussie overseas and then when they find out I’m a Kiwi they always say ‘Where in Australia is that?’. LOL. I also got asked if I speak English!

  6. Perfect timing – we will have a Kiwi family staying with us for a few days next month, so now I will know the lingo!

    Oh and like Amy at Handbag Mafia, the mince pie had me for a while there too 😉 . Plus I would call your sweet treat a jam and cream donut. Whatevs. They’re still delicious and now you’ve got me craving one!!!!!

    Visiting from #teamIBOT.

  7. hahaha, I love your Kiwi Slang Haidee! my favourite are jandals 🙂 so cool! And yes, I also do trips down memory lane and have deja vu’s very often about my mom and dad…it’s sad and it’s nice and like you there are certain “traditions” I’d like to keep up with my kids too. And I hear ya, I feel like I walk like my mom sometimes… it’s crazy, but nice.
    Katrin recently posted…DIY Easter Nest JarsMy Profile

  8. First off, it’s lovely that you have so many great memories, I’m sure they make you a bit sad as well as happy and thankful. I don’t have many memories of my childhood, at all. Not sure why, nothing bad happened, I just don’t remember. I do recall hanging out with my Gran and planting flowers, or baking with her. She was the best, her and my Grandfather. They lived just down the road and I would go see them often. I also remember watching my Gran getting ready to go dancing with my Grandfather, they loved to do this together, and I would sit in the chair in the corner while she dressed and put on her jewelry. I loved that. Now that chair is mine, I have it at my desk so I can see it and remember always.

    Second, I love your language, so full of fun and joyful sounding words. Like a song. Thanks for the translations, I wish I had a few more “buggar all” days, and I think that you are a “hard case” for sure!

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