Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Since moving to Queenstown we have “flatted” with three Kiwis and two Brits. We have learned a lot about their cultures–New Zealanders love Pat Benatar; British people have tea upwards of five times a day. And I’m sure they’ve learned a great deal about ours–Americans make snarky comments at the television during reality cooking shows.

But the most interesting thing multi-cultural cohabitation has taught us is that we speak three different kinds of English. Here’s a list of unique New Zealand words and phrases. Just like a middle-school vocabulary list, we’ve included definitions and used each word in a sentence–specifically, a sentence pertaining to our trip.

bach: a cottage

Last weekend, Meg went to a lakeside bach with two of our flatmates. (Our other flatmate and I had to work 😦 )

bbq at the bach

bbq at the bach

boot: car trunk

The boot of our subaru is filled with tennis racquets and beach towels.

capsicum: sweet peppers (red or green)

Meg and Sarah recently planted capsicums in the communal garden.

car park: parking lot

On our Milford road trip, Cate did calisthenics in the car park.

entree: appetizer

The prawn entree at Fishbone comes with two jumbo shrimp.

flash: sensational or fancy

Our subaru is very flash.

Our subaru is very flash.

fringe: bangs

Most girls would agree, Zoe Deschanel has enviable fringe.  (that sentence doesn’t have anything to do with our trip, it’s just a true statement about fringe)

gutted: emotionally distraught

To say I was gutted when the Patriots lost would be an understatement.

jandals: flip flops or sandals

November through March is jandal season in New Zealand.

lemonade: sprite or 7up

During the brief period I quit drinking soda, I ordered a lemonade at a restaurant and it caused a relapse.

piss: beer

Flat photo: everyone's drinking piss.

Our flat went to Atlas and we all drank piss.

piss-up: a social gathering involving alcohol


We had a piss-up on Lake Wakatipu and drank out of a watermelon.

rattle your dags: hurry up, get a move on

Rattle your dags, “My Kitchen Rules” is almost on. (MKR is an addictive Australian cooking show; we think they put MSG in it)

scull: to chug a drink (beer)

Meg sculled both of these...just kidding!

Meg sculled both of these jugs…just kidding!

serviette: napkin

Cleaning up after guests at the restaurant has made Meg appreciate her mom’s enthusiasm for serviettes.

taking a piss: having too much to drink

Last weekend our flatmate Tom was taking a piss at his favorite pub, 1876, and woke up with this:

Glory lasts forever. So do tattoos.

Glory lasts forever. So do tattoos.

tomato sauce: ketchup

Fergburger makes their own tomato sauce.

Fergburger makes their own tomato sauce.

whinge: to complain

During road trips I frequently whinge about the cleanliness of hostel bathrooms.

zed: Z, the last letter of the alphabet

If you pronounce Z like “zee” rather than “zed,” people will laugh at you.


Don’t worry, there won’t be a vocab test on Monday. But if you ever plan a trip to New Zealand, save yourself some confusion and brush up on this list.


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While in Auckland Eliott and I felt we would be remiss without fitting some culture in between happy hours. So we decided to take a trip to the Art Gallery and the National Museum/War Memorial. While we found a lot of different artifacts and perspectives, but we also found some similarities to the museums back in the states. Below is a little photographic journey of the highlights along with our enlightened insights…

Similar to Eliott’s freshman year dorm right?

Perched on top of a grass-covered hill with views of the city this massive, marble building could have been in the middle of Washington DC.

My halloween costume for this year

These Maori carvings would have sat outside houses or the marae (communal building for social and religious events). They actually represent sacred ancestors, not deities. They reminded us of the totem poles you might see in the Native American sections of our museums back home, or maybe of something you saw in your nightmares.

Click on the photo to enlarge and read the copy, it’s a riot.

This was one of our favorite pieces of the museum. We’re not sure how to describe it, but it’s basically a WWI propaganda and education poster from a New Zealand newspaper. When the UK declared war on Germany the NZ government followed suit, but it seems many New Zealanders were unsure why the Brits jumped into war in the first place (I don’t think they were alone in this). So here is a simple three-pronged explanation of the whole ordeal. This poster highlights the confusion that exists to this day around WWI, it seems most countries were saying to themselves, “wtf happened!

On our way to the dark side of the moon

And like most art galleries, Auckland’s left us speechless. That stuff’s just deep…like space.

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