The dominant language spoken in New Zealand is English but the accent can prove a little challenging – especially at first! Add to this some colloquialism and terminology unique to New Zealand, and it can be a little daunting. Here are some terms to help you.
- Bach/Baches: Holiday homes, usually located near the coast or a lake. In Otago and Southland they are known as ‘Cribs’.
- Pa/Pas: Traditional term relating to the location of a Maori settlement.
- Pub: Abbreviation for public house (drinking establishment) or more commonly known as a bar.
- DoC: Department of Conservation – a central government agency charged with conserving the natural and historic heritage of New Zealand.
- National Park: Protected areas, administered by the Department of Conversation. There are 14 throughoutNew Zealand.
- Opossum/Possum: A marsupial that is considered a pest in New Zealand.
- Kiwi: This term has two meanings in New Zealand. The origins of the meaning relate to the flightless bird that is unique to New Zealand, the Kiwi. It also is used to refer to New Zealanders.
- Whitebait: Young fish that are small and almost transparent. They are only available during certain times of the year and considered a delicacy.
Many place names are taken directly from the native Maori language.
- Aoraki/Mount Cook: This is New Zealand’s highest peak at 3754 metres. Translated as ‘Cloud-piercer’ or ‘Cloud in the Sky’.
- Waitangi: Place near Paihia in the Bay of Islands. The literal translation is wai = water and tangi = noisy or weeping.
- Mount Maunganui: This translates into ‘Tall Mountain’. It is often referred to as ‘The Mount’ by locals.
- White Island: Its Maori name is ‘Whakaari’,when translated can be interpreted as ‘uplifted to view’.
- Waitomo/Waitomo Caves: The translation for this is Wai = water and tomo = shaft.
- Whakarewarewa: Full name is Whakarewarewatanga-o-te-ope-a-Wahiao! It relates to the uprising of the army of Wahiao.
- Wakatipu: This is a contraction of ‘Waka-tipu-wai-maori’ which translates to the trough of fresh water where the giant lies.