With the massive news announced last week that NZ will be opening up their boards to Australians for the first time since last year’s lockdown, I thought it was high time we did a quick little refresher for the pack on how our New Zealander neighbours speak. Let’s make sure we’re all on the same page when we finally come face-to-face once again!

Image sourced from Unsplash, courtesy of Joel Bengs


Firstly, when the word togs is mentioned, don’t panic. It’s nothing untoward. Togs are basically swimmers. 

Unlike our vast array of descriptives for bathers; boardies, swimmers, bikinis and even budgies, the Kiwis use togs as a term that can be used interchangeably between males and females, so don’t worry about offending anyone. It’s not going to bring about the same reaction as the yanks have when we ask them about throwing a thong on!


We have thongs, the yanks have flip-flops and New Zealanders, well they have jandals! Not a hard one to get your head around, but a tough one not to laugh at because well, “jandles” just sound plain silly, don’t they? 

Apparently, “jandle gate” is quite a serious debate within NZ, as the original jandal story has been questioned by a rival jandle enthused family in recent years. (I know what you’re thinking, how did we not know about this sooner!?)

Apparently Auckland businessman, Morris Yock, was the man behind the kiwi version of said sand shoe way back in 1957. However, it’s said that Moris who would often travel to Asia, may have pinched the idea from his British ‘bru’ (we’ll get to that next) John Cowie, who apparently began manufacturing a plastic version of the Japanese wooden sandal himself.

Yock recalls returning home from Hong Kong and beginning making jandals in a garage with his younger brother. They are said to have been such a big hit that on October 4, 1957, (go on, mark it in your calendars) Morris Yock trademarked the jandal.

It’s still unknown whether it was Mr Yock or Mr Cowie who first came up with the name jandal, a name that I don’t reckon is all that creative anyway. Imagine the pitch: “Japanese + sandal. I present to you the jandal.” (collective minds blown). 

Now we’re just glad that neither came up with a bucket inspired by the French or else we’ll have ourselves a… well you can work it out.

Image sourced from Unsplash, courtesy of Vivi Bu.
Image sourced from Pexel, courtesy of Allan Mas


The New Zealanders really do just have the best accents don’t they! Must be a very caring bunch too by the sounds… In fact they seem so hell bent to show just how much they care about ‘you’ that they try to crowbar a ‘u’ into every word!

You’ll hear this one a fair bit, starts with ‘br’ but sounds like mooooo, means brother and is said with more love than any other word in their vocab. Close your eyes and picture it: “Come on bruuuuu, you know I love youuuu” – Now don’t tell me you can’t help but feel a little warmer on the inside.

So when you’re in the unofficial land of love, substitute our harsh Aussie “ay’s” for a handful of ”u”s because over there everyone is a bru and if you play your cards right – maybe you’ll be crowned a bru too.

“Pass me a chuddy”

I’m sorry, what? I can honestly say I have never heard this one, but by all reports it means… now bare with me here, “please may I have a piece of chewing gum…” Chuddy = gum? Yeah, go figure! 

Apparently, the term “chuddy” originates from Northern England (don’t you worry I’m just as confused by that as you) but all you really need to take from this is whatever you do, when asking for gum or “chuddy,” is do not, I repeat, DO NOT pluralise it into chuddies, because apparently chuddies are a pair of undies and I’m not sure they’ll do much to help your breath… anyway, let’s move on.

Chewing Gum
Image sourced from Pexels, courtesy of Edu Carvalho
Image sourced from Pexels, courtesy of Bithin Raj

Choice! & Chur!

Nope choice doesn’t mean you have a decision to make, well not in NZ anyway…

If you hear a New Zealander giving it a bit of “that’s choice bru!” Don’t panic, they’re on your side, they’re up and about and they’re loving what’s going on! Choice means cool/no worries/sick one/I agree. It’s a bit of positive affirmation. It’s nice, it’s fun, it’s choice. No decisions to be made, just smile and nod. Smile and nod. 

“Chur” works in a similar way to choice, it basically just means cool/sounds good/thanks/cheers.

Chur doesn’t sound as cool as choice, so I’d stick with shouting “CHOICE” whenever the opportunity arises.

Here, I’ll put it into a sentence “New Zealand slang bru, it’s choice!” 

Beached az!

Now this one stems from an old YouTube video. Cast your mind back (harps play in the background) to the world of YouTube – prior to gamers, ‘influencers’ and makeup tutorials… When silly videos ruled the world and there was less judgement and negativity. There was more laughter and less bullying. A time when the word influencer was just someone mis-pronouncing ‘influenza.’ Ahhh, good times.

Anyway… the term ‘beached az’ basically means you’re in a bit of strife, you’re stuck in a pickle, you’re screwed. I’m hearing from the pack that this one, (much like the ‘WWW DOT’ web of yesteryear) may have passed its use-by date. So maybe it’s just wise just to know the reference rather than actually use it.

Similarly to how us Aussies’ view Lara’s “Where the bl**dy hell are you” campaign as something we acknowledge but have all decided to never talk about again… ever. 

Beached Az
Image sourced from Youtube, courtesy of the Beached Az page
Fish and Chips
Image sourced from Unsplash, courtesy of Andy Wang

Shark’n’ taters – fush and chups.

I can honestly say I’ve never heard anyone say “shark’n’ taters” but apparently that what goes on off the coast of the Tasman. Shark n taters = fish and chips. The only reason I can think of as to why they would run with this one is because they hate the external teasing that comes from saying “fush and chups.”

Embrace the accent NZ, it’s sick as bru’s! 

Hopefully this little NZ slang session will keep you in good stead for any of your future travels, we Aroha (love) our NZ neighbours and their forever growing language. Be sure to let us know your favourite NZ slang below and we’ll share the best ones in a future blog instalment. 

What’s you favourite NZ slang that didn’t make the cut?

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