We use cookies to ensure we give you the best experience of our website. By accepting, you agree to the use of cookies as described in our privacy policy.

International students eating fish and chips

Kiwi-isms Every International Student Should Know

A kiwi-ism is something New Zealanders typically do or say or a fun fact that’s unique to New Zealand.

Local slang

We loved learning the local slang when we were in New Zealand! We would receive packing lists for trips with items such as jandals, togs, scrogin, sunnies, and plasters. It took a little while to figure out we would need sandals, bathing suits, trail mix, sunglasses, and Band-Aids!

Taylor Lindsey is a US study abroad student studying at Ecoquest in Kaiaua, near Auckland

Some of the kiwi-isms that I have started using include ‘sweet as’ (aka: great/cool/awesome/okay), and ‘all good’ (aka: that works/cool/anytime).

Stephanie Andraos is a Lebanese student studying for a PhD in Health Sciences at The University of Auckland.

Businesses close at 6pm

Something I found to be an extremely good use of my time in preparation for my departure for New Zealand is looking up some things online about the “Kiwi way of life!”

I found that Kiwis in Wellington were much more relaxed and easy-going than the people I am surrounded with daily in Washington, D.C. Being aware of that beforehand allowed my adjustment to living in Wellington to come much easier.

It was also helpful to know how Māori language is used regularly as a part of the local dialect, and to know the overall general social atmosphere – what is acceptable, what isn’t, what the day to day life in New Zealand is like, etc.!

I think the kiwi-ism that was hardest for me to get used to is the fact that most stores and businesses (except for grocery and food) close promptly at 6pm. I come from a society where businesses are often open until 9 or 10pm so adjusting to the availability of services is necessary so you are not stuck not being able to accomplish something. But on the bright side, having the evening to spend with friends or family, or doing an activity seems to be a really nice custom that I appreciate.

Emily Watkins is a US study abroad student studying political science, government & international relations at Victoria University in Wellington

Ready and willing to help

Not really something you can learn, but a kiwi-ism to know is that kiwis are very, very nice. They are some of the kindest people I have ever met. Kiwis are generally willing to help no matter what.

When my friend (who also came to New Zealand from the same university) and I first arrived we had no beds or food. One of our flatmates, Aden, offered to help us find beds and even bought us enough groceries that lasted us a month or so.

Along with Aden, while out one day with my friend, we stopped at a dairy (corner store) to buy some Kleenex (tissues) because I had a cold, but the dairy wasn’t selling any. Dejected and walking out of the store, one of the staff offered me a whole box of tissues he had sitting behind the counter in his office. He told me to take what I needed without even hesitating!

This is the kiwi-ism that I hope to take back to the US with me – the niceness to just be a kind person.

Samantha Ross is a US study abroad student studying fine arts with a photography major at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin

 

Taylor Lindsay

By ENZ Kiwi Ambassadors

Updated 1 year ago

Taylor Lindsey (pictured), Emily Watkins, and Samantha Ross are all study abroad students from the United States. Stephanie Andraos is a PhD student from Lebanon.

Follow our Kiwi Ambassadors on Instagram: @studyinnewzealand

*Views expressed are the blogger's own
Share this article

Keep in touch. Don't miss out on the latest posts.

Subscribe to Blog

Stay in touch

For personalised tips and tools for studying in New Zealand.

Please complete all of the fields below.

Please enter a valid email address.

Please enter a first name.

Please enter a last name.

Please select a country.

Please select a valid date (MM/YYYY).

this includes the existence, status and outcome of any visa application I submit, for use in accordance with, and for the purposes set out in, Education New Zealand’s Privacy Policy which I have read and understood. The results Education New Zealand receives may also include visa decisions pre/post the student visa application (such as a work visa post study). This will enable us to provide a more personalised digital experience and undertake research and analytical studies associated with our functions.

You can unsubscribe at any time By submitting this form I agree to Education New Zealand Privacy Policy, and to receive updates and marketing communications about their services, promotions, special offers, new and events.

Thanks for subscribing

Close
Tohu icon

Kia ora! Get answers to your questions about studying in New Zealand

Learn More