18 Apr, 2017

Languages of New Zealand

While English is the predominant language spoken in New Zealand, there are two actual official languages in New Zealand.

Maori became an official language in 1987 and in 2006, New Zealand became the first country to declare sign language as an official language. Like many countries, New Zealand has some unique or slang terms that you will often hear too.

Te Reo Maori – the Maori Language

In the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, Queen Victoria promised the Maori that their language would be protected but despite its official status, the language continues to struggle against being lost.

Some common Maori terms are;

Kia ora – Hello
Kia ora tatou – Hello everyone
Tena koe – Greetings to you (said to one person)
Tena koutou – Greeting to you all
Haere mai – Welcome
Nau mai – Welcome
Kei te pehea koe? – How’s it going?
Kei te pai – Good
Tino pai – Really good
Haere ra – Farewell

It is only recently that the Maori language has gathered widespread support and now the Maori language is being commonly used in the media and at school.

New Zealand Sign Language

New Zealand Sign Language, or NZSL, is the main language of the deaf community in New Zealand.

Unique or Slang Terms

There are plenty of good unique or slang terms used in New Zealand.

Some of my favorites are;

Sweat as – cool or awesome
Mate – a friend
Cool as –
Hard case – a funny person or term
Red bands – a famous New Zealand gum boot

These are just a few of the ones that I like and thought you might find interesting.