We all know Australia and New Zealand have a shared geopolitical history and have (reasonably) close cultural bonds. Honestly, we do really like each other.
However, one thing Aussies might find if they decide to move here is that it seems at time as though Kiwis speak a different language.
Now, I’m not talking about the whole vowel-pronunciation problem. That’s been done to death. Nobody gives a shut any more, okay?
What I’m talking about are the different terms used to describe everyday, normal objects.
For example, in the first few months after moving here, I put my shopping in a trundler, received funny looks when asking for a pair of thongs in a shoe shop, got a blank look when inquiring about a queen-sized doona, and my son was sent to school on their “mufti day” dressed as an Islamic scholar*.
Basically, New Zealanders seem to have either invented or inherited their own terms for a whole bunch of stuff. It’s both amusing and confusing, and so I want to set the record straight.
I’m looking to compile a glossary of these weird and wacky terms and phrases to help any Australians in future who fall into the trap of asking for a lady’s undergarment when all they want is a pair of flip-flops.
To get started, here are the ones I can think of off the top of my head:
Jersey: Not breed of cow, but rather a jumper.
Duvet: A doona.
Jandles: Thongs. Sounds like sandles, so makes sense I guess.
Click-clack: A futon. I’m serious.
Trundler: A shopping trolley. Not a completely widespread word, but funny nonetheless.
Mufti-day: Casual clothes/uniform-free day at a school.
Section: A block of land.
Twink: Tippex, or white-out. Definitely not what you were thinking.
I’m certain there are many more. I’m after your help to hopefully put together as definitive list of Kiwi-isms to help us poor immigrants out. Leave your ideas in the comments below, and I’ll compile them into a separate page on the site.
* Okay I made that one up. But I wasn’t about to let the fact that I don’t have kids get in the way of a decent one-liner.