Glossary Of Terms
That Maybe Unfamiliar to North American Readers

Aussie nickname for Australians

a one room rental with a shared bath and no formal kitchen

biffing beating, hitting

blokes men

boot trunk of a car

an institution housing juvenile delinquents

brolly umbrella

Bursary the former grading system used in New Zealand to qualify applicants for higher education and scholarship money; “A” was the highest Bursary possible

chooks hens

creche child care facility

flat apartment

forms levels in the New Zealand School system (no longer in use at most NZ schools); 1st form-7th form is comparable to 6th grade-12th grade in the United States

front up meet in person and apologize

golden shower urinating on another person as part of a sexual act

Guy Fawkes Day Annual celebration on November 5th of the failed 1605 plot by a group of English Roman Catholics to bomb the House of Parliament and assassinate King James I of England in the hopes of extinguishing protestant rule.

hiding spanking

jug cord a power cord for a kettle

Kiwi nickname for New Zealanders

Kookaburra large bird with a cackling call sounding like human laughter


lollies lollipops or hard candies

loo a toilet

macrocarpas a species of evergreen trees which grow particularly large in New Zealand, reaching heights of 40m with trunks up to 3m in diameter

manuka an evergreen scrub bush or small tree with prickly leaves and white or pink flowers

First New Zealand settlers; migrated from Polynesia AD 800-1300

Maori Land March of 1975 Since the mid-1800s, the Maori people have been plagued with land issues. They gradually had much of their land taken from them through miscommunications with the British, as well as through dishonest business transactions. The 1975 march was a protest organized against Maori land loss.

Maori whare a sacred house used by the Maori tribes for funerals, religious ceremonies, and community meetings

marae sacred grounds, buildings, meeting place of Maori people

mate friend

Mini a very small, British-made car

moggy cat

Morris a British-made car

mufti ordinary clothing, as opposed to a uniform of any kind

nappies diapers

paddock a field or land enclosed by a fence

Pakeha a New Zealander who did not descend from the Maori tribes, but whose ancestors were from Europe

pig dog a dog trained to hunt and kill wild pigs

pohutukawa also known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree, this large tropical evergreen tree is dressed in beautiful red flowers from November to January

poi games, dances, and exercises created by the Maori people; uses a ball attached to a rope that could be made from a variety of materials

poofters slang term for homosexual men

posted mailed

pressies presents

punters customers

radiogram plays records and also the radio

rand South African monetary unit

sammies sandwiches

sellotape cellophane tape

shifting in moving in

sleepout a structure built for sleeping

snuff it to die

swotted slang for the act of studying to the exclusion of all other social activity

tapa cloth delicate cloth made from tree bark; often painted and hung as an art form

teemed on heavy rain “pissing down rain”

tiki Polynesian figurine

timbrel a tambourine-like musical instrument

timbrellist person who plays a timbrel

Toetoe native New Zealand grasses that grow in clumps as large as 3m tall

togs clothing

torch flashlight

tukutuku panels ancient Maori art constructed from a variety of plant and wood materials lashed together in intricate patterns to form decorative latticework wall panels

Wahine storm On April 10, 1968, cyclone Giselle combined with another strong storm system creating the most powerful cyclone recorded in the history of New Zealand at that time. The storm caused major damage in Wellington with recorded wind speeds reaching 275 km/h. The Wahine ferry was caught in this violent storm close to the Wellington Harbor. The ferry eventually capsized, 53 out of 733 passengers and crew members losing their lives in the Wahine disaster.

waka large canoes capable of ocean travel used by ancient Maori tribes

wattle tree a thorny bush or tree indigenous to New Zealand; produces bright yellow flowers

Weetbix a brand name of a cereal bar made from wheat

weta a common New Zealand insect similar in looks to a cricket

whinged whined