Oct 202010

If you come to visit New Zealand you’re bound to get tripped up by at least a few of the place names and local language.  Many place names reflect their traditional Maori names, and some fruits may be named differently from back home.  Read the guide and go local!


If you haven’t watched the above video, play it now then carry on reading – it’s a funny introduction to how to pronounce one place name correctly.  Taupo is one of the most popular places tourists visit, it’s far from the hardest to pronounce, yet it’s probably pronounced incorrectly about 99% of the time by both Kiwis and tourists.

No we won’t pretend we’re experts here at New Zealand Unwrapped as we’re not originally from New Zealand but here’s a quick guide to some things that may trip you up – remember, don’t be afraid to ask!

Kapiti coast by Wellington – it’s not ‘kapeeti’, it’s ‘kap-i-te’ coast
The ‘Wh’ in New Zealand place names are generally pronounced as ‘F’ rather than ‘When’ e.g.
Whangarei – pronounce it as “Fain ga ray” according to WikiTravel

Ok, the place names are too difficult for us as well, so let’s get to some more day to day stuff :

Day to Day talk

Kia Ora – hello

Bach – holiday home (pronounced ‘batch’) – can be referred to as Crib in the South Island

Bro – friend

Chilly Bin – cool box for camping / campervan – many uses from beers to your freshly caught fish

Chemist – pharmacy or drug store

Dairy – local convenience store.  Sells day to day foods, newspapers, snacks etc

Jandals – Flip Flops (or Thongs if you’re arriving from Australia)

Maori – indigenous people to New Zealand

Pakeha – non-Maori white person

Sweet as / Choice – that’s great  …often heard as ‘sweet as bro’

Togs – swimming clothes – shorts, swimsuits etc

Tramping – walking and hiking

Wop-wops – very rural location – out of the way, ‘in the sticks’

Food :

Capsicums – peppers

Kumara – sweet potato – there’s a few varieties

Kiwi fruit – yes, you’ll see them everywhere

Feijoa – aromatic and sweet seasonal fruit, looks a bit similar to the Kiwi Fruit to the uninitaited

Yam – another form of sweet potato

I’ll keep adding to this list as I get a bit more exposure, but for now…ask the locals when you land!  Do you think there’s something that should definitely be added here?  Come on, be nice, don’t let other readers get laughed at….I know what it’s like, and my local friend constantly rips me about my pronounciation!

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