Archive for Trans-Tasman Relations

The NZ/AU Glossary Project

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.

Plasters: Band-aids.

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.

Comments (53)

“Pathetically rude” skit in New Zealanders’ sitcom


I don’t know what to say.

These comments do nothing to help our two countries relate.

I mean, honestly.

Isn’t it about time New Zealand started to take Australia seriously?

I note that these “Conchords” guys are from Wellington, the butt of all weather-related jokes in NZ (apologies to Dunedin).

What are they doing getting their giggles at the expense of poor old Keith-a?

Personally, I’m just outraged.

Comments (53)

The cousin at the party in the short trousers

One topic I’ve been meaning to write about on this blog is on the relationship between New Zealand and Australia, and how Aus is viewed by your typical Kiwi. And I will get around to doing that in more depth later on, as there is heaps to write about. There’s actually probably a PhD in it, but I can’t be bothered doing another one.

However, an article showed up online today that I couldn’t help but post about. Apparently a Christchurch historian thinks that Australia should take New Zealand more seriously. Seriously.

Professor Philippa Mein Smith says that:

“It’s time to stop trotting out the sheep jokes and the endless ribbing on the sports field and make our relationship more sophisticated”

And then she goes on to try to prove her point by (slightly hypocritically) invoking the old chestnut, Phar Lap:

“He’s a hero horse for all of us so I think it’s about time we got over who owns him and just accept we all do, but still the fight goes on.”


FYI, we invented Pavlova too.

But you can have Russell Crowe.

Apparently we can thank Rove, who suggested that Australians viewed Kiwis as “the cousin at the party in the short trousers”. I’d never actually heard this one before, but let me tell you, it’s absolutely spot on.

Mainly because the truth is Australians are pretty ignorant towards NZ. Heck, I just assumed I’d be able to buy the SMH or The Age over here, and get the ABC on TV. Wasn’t even sure if Auckland or Wellington was the capital (it’s Wellington by the way).

On the other hand, Kiwis know all about Australia, and are moving there in record numbers. It’s pretty much a rite of passage for most New Zealanders in their twenties to go and work there for a year or two. It’s almost an obsession. In fact the the Kiwi “OE” (Overseas Experience) is pretty much institutionalised, whereby most young people nick off to either Australia of the UK to work for a few years, before (mostly) returning to NZ.

Seriously, they simultaneously love us and loathe us.

And it’s great, in my opinion. Imagine if we all got along, it’d be boring as batshit. The more trans-Tasman rivalry the better I say.

Now get your friggin’ trousers lengthened you dorks!

Comments (89)

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