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New Zealand Travel Tips & Questions

Will there be any language barriers?

There are 3 official languages in New Zealand – English, Maori and New Zealand sign language. However, 98% of the population speak English so it really isn't going to be a concern. The biggest problem will come from trying to pronounce Maori place names (you WILL get it wrong initially and you WILL get laughed at). The most commonly used Maori words that you will come across are 'kia ora' (hello/how are you), 'kai' (food), 'haere mai' (welcome), 'kina' (sea urchin and very much on the menu), Aotearoa (New Zealand or Land of the Long White Cloud) and 'pakeha' (white person).

The other slight problem will be that of some objects having totally different names or things to which there is no equivalent in the UK, or often elsewhere. The most common of these are 'chilly bin' (cool box), 'jandals' (flip-flops), 'dunny' (toilet), 'handle' (glass roughly equivalent to a pint), 'dairy' (corner shop), 'bach' (pronounced batch, a Kiwi seaside home, can be a hut or something grand), 'lolly' (sweets), OE (overseas experience/gap year), 'smoko' (a break from work), tinny (small boat), 'jafa' (a non complimentary acronym for an Aucklander) and 'hokey pokey' (honeycomb).