and Crime Fiction Writer
Ambo – short for ambulance or ambulance worker.
Arvo – short for afternoon. “I’ll see you this arvo.”
As thick as two short planks nailed together – Dumb as a box of rocks. Not very bright.
Bizzo – short for business. Lots of things get abbreviated in NZ. Arvo, Convo.
Bloke – Not a redneck but someone who’s a man’s man. But not a yobbo. Hard to describe. But you can say someone’s “A good bloke.” It’s a compliment.
Bloody – multi-purpose swear word that is extremely mild. Like it to damn in the States.
~ Bloody hell
~ That was bloody awful.
~ I was bloody well going to use that
~ Will you bloody listen to me
~ The bloody dog’s eaten all the lamb
Blue – “To have a blue.” Means to have a fight with someone.
Boot – car trunk
Brassed off – Not very happy. A bit fed up with things.
Bubba or bub – term of endearment. We often call our kids that. Like sweetie or darling.
Bugger – This is a multi-tasking word and can be used in a variety of ways.
~ Bugger – Damn
~ Bugger all – “I saw bugger all when I went out last time.” Didn’t see very much.
~ Bugger off - You can bugger off - get lost
~ To bugger off - to leave a place
~ Bugger me - Well, blow me down, what a surprise!
~ It's buggered - It's no longer working
~ You're a bit of a bugger - Usually said in a somewhat nice way to someone, describing them as a ratbag.
~ Well, bugger that - I won't be doing that then.
Chilly bin – ice chest or cooler
Choc-a-blockor chocca – full up with food
Choice – Good, excellent, top rate. “That was choice that TV show.”
Convo – “I’ll was having a bit of a convo with Bob.”
Dipshit – a bit of an idiot
Drongo – A bit of a twit.
Fuckwit – An idiot. “That guy's a bit of a fuckwit.”
Gobsmacked – completely floored by something. “I was gobsmacked when the gormless dongo arrived for tea in his togs.”
Goolies – Testicles. “To kick someone in the goolies.”
Gormless – not a clue in their head. Slightly thick. Not very bright. “God, he was gormless.”
Grotty – bad, ghastly, under the weather. “I felt grotty this morning when I woke up.” “The bathrooms were a wee bit grotty in there.”
Hongi – A Maori greeting. Noses are rubbed gently and foreheads placed together. It’s a gentle exchange of breath, acknowledging the other person’s essence.
Jandals – flip flops, thongs, slippahs
Kia Kaha – Maori for Stay Strong
Koru – symbolized a new life, new beginning. Often seen as the new fern leaf unfurling.
Kia ora – Maori greeting, hello, hi. “Kia ora, mate.”
Mad as a meat axe – Quite bonkers, quite nuts.
Mana – prestige
Morish – Meaning you want more. It tastes good generally.
Mozzies – short for mosquitoes.
Nosy – “To have a nosy.” To have a poke around or look at something.
Pottle – Usually a round plastic container with a lid on it, might be called a tub in the US.
Ratshit – Multi-purpose word.
~ Awful, ghastly, bad. “I look absolutely ratshit today.”
~ “I feel ratshit today.”
~ “I had a ratshit night last night.”
Tangi – A Maori funeral
Tea – NZ dinner or a cup of tea. Check which one you’re getting.
Togs – NZ swimsuit for male or females. I think it comes from the Irish originally, of which a great deal of NZ descends from.
Trolleyed – To get completely boozed, legless, drunk.
Twee – obviously precious in some way or overdone, cutesy. Country stores that have exploding dried flowers everywhere and more gingham than an Italian street fair.
Wanker – someone who’s being a jerk.
HAWAIIAN and Polynesian words
Aloha – hello and goodbye
Aumakua – the ancestors. Usually represented in animal totems of some kind. Like shark, owl, turtle etc.
Brudda – friend, brother
Cooshoo – Norfuk (Norfolk Island) means good.
Da Kine – used as a general all round statement. A noun or verb used in place of whatever the speaker wishes.
Haole – white person
Honu – turtle. Hawaiian green sea turtle
Ho’okupu – an offering made to the spirits. Often made from ti leaves that form an enclosed “basket.”
Ho’oponopono – (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. To make something right for everyone concerned.
Howzit – how’s it going?
Ia Orana – hello, welcome in Tahitian
Kia orana – hello, welcome in Cook Island Maori or Rarotongan
Kia ora – hello, welcome in NZ Maori
Kahuna – priest or minister
Kama’aina – someone who’s lived on the island for a long time but wasn’t born there
Kokua – help
Kuleana – responsibility, concern.
Lanai – patio, balcony, terrace, deck. Anywhere that’s an outdoor area off the living room normally
Lei – a flower, shell or leaf garland in Hawaii
Hei – a flower garland in Tahiti.
Liliko’i – yellow skinned local passion fruit. Slightly sweeter than the purple skinned variety and used in everything at home. Jams, syrups, liquers, cakes, sweets, desserts, sauces.
Mauka – toward the mountain
Mahalo – thank you
Mamau – Grandmother in Tahitian
Papi – Grandfather in Tahitian
Mu’umu’u – long Mother Hubbard type dress, loose fitting
Ohana – family. People often build “ohana” units on their property, so parents or grandparents can live there. A wee bit like a granny flat, but often bigger.
Okole – backside, bottom, bum
Ono – delicious
Pau – done, over. Finished
Pau Hana – finish work, quitting time
Peuo – owl
Pono – goodness, excellence, correct, proper
Slippahs – thongs, flip-flops, jandals, rubber slippers