Some Characteristics of New Zealand English

This page is not intended to contain a complete list of New Zealand terms. (See John Thornley's "Kiwi Words" glossary for that.) On this page, I have simply grouped some words into categories that I think are particularly notable.

New Zealand-ese

(pun intended) Kiwis add the sound "ee" to the end of many words as a cute kind of abbreviation. However, these words are not just used by little children - you hear them all the time!

There are two variations on this theme. First is where the "ee" has no significance at all, except to make it sound better (to a Kiwi's ears anyway).

New Zealand-ese (2)

The second way an "ee" ending is commonly used is to mean "person". Come to think of it, New Zealanders were way ahead of their time in finding a politically correct alternative for the suffix "-man". Much better than the modern "chairperson" or "chairwoman" nonsense!


Kiwis have a grand repetoire of words they use when they are surprised, startled, annoyed, etc. They tend to come in pairs: a short version, and then a longer version for extra emphasis.

Be careful, Kiwis!

Here are some words that Kiwis MUST NEVER USE when they travel to the States:

Be careful, Yankees!

If you are an American travelling to Aotearoa, you'd be well-advised not to use the following words:
Click here to go back to my New Zealand Web-Page

Last updated: 28 Sept 2000