June 13, 2014

Guide to Kiwi slang language

Like most former British colonies, New Zealanders speak English - albeit with a uniquely kiwi twist.

New Zealand has two official languages - Maori and English - though the use of Maori as a first language is not widespread. Even so, many place names are Maori in origin (try tongue-twisters such as Paekakariki, Turangawaewae or Ngaruawahia!), and most government agencies have bilingual names.

New Zealand English is, in itself, a unique language full of many colloquialisms foreigners will find challenging at times to decipher.

So, if you don't know how to rattle your dags, no worries mate - she'll be right!

Some common Kiwi colloquialisms you may encounter:


Cockey Farmer
"the girls" The cows (as in dairy cows)
Tape Tape for electric fence to divide an existing paddock
"The shed" Usually the milking shed if on a dairy farm
Bike Refers usually to 4 wheeler motorbike
2 wheeler Refers to 2 wheel motorbike
Rotary shed Automatic milking shed where cows stand on a rotating platform
Herringbone shed Automatic milking shed where cows stand in two rows on either side of a "pit" from where the milkers put on "cups"
Cups Suction mechanisms on milking machines
Smoko Break
Hairy Young dairy farm worker
hard yakka Hard work
Post Batten Fence made of wooden posts with smaller supporting wooden "battens"
Silage Decomposed maize or grass often stored in silage pits in the ground covered by plastic and fed out to stock as supplementary feed
Wrapped bale Large round bales of hay, wrapped in plastic to create a decomposing effect (fed as supplementary feed)
Grass based system Dairy farm relying largely on pastures for feed, very little supplementary feed
High input system Dairy farm using substantial supplementary feed in addition to the grass grown on farm
Condition score Condition of stock, particularly important before mating and during and after pregnancy
Plate Meter Device to measure grass cover on the farm
Milk Solids Measured in kilograms ("kgms")
Runoff A supporting farm used to graze non-milking stock.
Young stock Replacement heifers
Cross breds New Zealand style cross between Fresians and Jersey dairy breeds
Composite Breeds Usually in sheep - refers to the introduction of High fertility breeds such as East Fresian and Finns and crossing them with traditional breeds such as Romneys to push up lambing percentages
AB Artificial Breeding (Artificial insemination)
Races Fenced walkways for stock to be moved easily around the farm
Bobby calves Four day old calves sold for slaughter

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