Regional Kiwi slang

I’m familiar with the southern terms there, but not so much bunking in that form – I know that as wagging for avoiding school – but I have heard ‘bunking off’ as a more general term.

When I lived in Auckland for a while (last century) I found that polonies were more common than saveloys. I don’t know if that’;s still the case. I had never heard of polonies before, and haven’t seen any since. But the are still a thing: “There are 11 different categories, ranging from saveloys and polonies…”

How widely known is snarler as an alternative for sausage?

Some more from the twitter thread:

They had a funny word for ice blocks too, what was it…

Quenchers – may have been a brand name? Also, Popsicle.

And I remember one version that had a lolly frozen in it, something like a jelly baby.

What about brown derby’s? Choc top ice creams.

Ah yes, sold at the pictures at half time. But now we go to the movies. . . . . . .

I used to go to the Pictures. I don’t remember (I may not have been there) but have been told the family was too late to get a seat at the Pictures once, but were allowed to sit behind the screen and see a mirror image version of the  film.

Another family story – we had an American and Australian staying with us once (billets on a horse rider visit thing). I told them my mother liked Oddfellows – she quickly told them they were mint lollies.

Luxing is derived from Electrolux.

Vacuum cleaners were known as Hoovers everywhere I grew up (Auckland/Wellington/South Canterbury).

I think that one’s far more to do with Anglophilia than region.

Hoovering is more of a UK term I think but I have heard it here.

Tub vs pottle of yoghurt

All the above plus cheese roll (not a bun with cheese on top) and ‘leg in’ for a right of way section.

‘Leg in’ is common here, as is grass verge rather than berm.

Lollies … sweets … have regional variations

Also punnet of strawberries was a South Island thing, and elsewhere (like Waikato where Mum grew up) it was a chip….

Punnet is still in common use here in the south.

In chch we bunked school, ate Belgium sausage played Barbador (bulrush) and hoovered. We also nuggeted our shoes. And sometimes as a treat, had a TT2.

Bullrush seems to have had many names. I’m fairly sure we called it Black Peter at school (nothing to do with me, I was red).

This reminds me of the old days:

Flagon or Peter … half gallon jar of beer

Flagon = “half G”

They were commonly used for draught beer (weasel piss). We also used flagons for making and talking cordial. For younger readers, a half gallon is just under 2 litres (1.893 litres), equivalent to about a half dozen stubbies.

NZ Herald (2006): Taste for beer in flagons dries up

The good old flagon of beer – otherwise known as the half g or’goon – is in its last throes, kept alive only by the loyalty of “traditional” drinkers. For years the two-litre jug, in glass or plastic, was as synonymous with all things boozy as the curvaceous pub jug, the dimpled pint and a copy of Best Bets wedged in the back pocket.

Now it seems the ‘goon is a goner, doomed to go the same way as the six o’clock swill.

It’s a “generational” thing, says DB Breweries corporate affairs manager Mark Campbell. “Certainly fewer and fewer younger drinkers use it. It is probably a more traditional way that beer was sold in the past. It’s on the way out.”

I have never heard of ‘goon before. Six o’clock swill is distant history – before my (drinking) time, and not such a big deal in the rural south at least where pubs opening ‘after hours’ was very common.

Image result for nz flagon beer

Sorry about ‘Canterbury Draught’ but it was hard to find a picture of flagons as I knew them. I remember those plastic screw on handles too.

You can still fill your own draught beer but they use other sizes and shapes now.

Also before my time but we had older 750ml beer bottles still around at home with longer necks.

Image result for beer bottle nz

1940 ABC bottle (Trade Me)

Remember when the introduction of stubbies was controversial?


  1. duperez

     /  February 23, 2019

    There are regional differences in sports too. In rugby for example; in Canterbury it’s ‘winning’ in Auckland it’s …


    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 23, 2019

      ‘not winning’ ? (as in ‘We didn’t lose, we just didn’t win.’) Or were you thinking of a word with one letter change ?

  2. Finbaar Rustle

     /  February 23, 2019

    This is 1960’s slang.
    Is there an update circa 2010?

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  February 23, 2019

      This is a nostalgia trip.

      Then there are arvo, gidday and ‘rattle yer dags’. Not regional, but Kiwi (or Australasian)

      Taking a Tiki tour…going to the dunny….and saying ‘Hooray !’ for goodbye. I heard a young person saying that recently.

      And I heard a young girl saying that she’d ‘take the waewae express’ home when the bus broke down. I hadn’t heard anyone say that for years.

  3. Gezza

     /  February 23, 2019

    They had a funny word for ice blocks too, what was it…

    In Taranaki, my turangawaewae – they were called TT2’s. I have no idea why.

    • It was a brand.

      TT-2 registered trademark, circa 1957

      I never realised the obvious until now – TT=TipTop

      Moggy Man was a Tip-Top brand that began life around the late 1950s as the extremely successful TT-2 ice block – one of the earlier Tip-Top brands that were considered a “novelty” line at the time – that said, anything that wasn’t cone ice cream was considered as such. It was an abbreviation of Tip-Top (TT) with a “2” which indicated it’s relegation to second tier product as it was an ice confection – whereas everything else at the time contained a degree of dairy; mainly cream.

      • Gezza

         /  February 23, 2019

        Ah, thank you. The name had got expanded thru common usage to mean any kind of frozen ice block on a stick when I was a kid. But it was no longer being commonly used by the time I was about 16.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  February 23, 2019

          I believe that it was supposed to be pron. Two-tee-two.

          What were the milky ones with malty (?) streaks ? I loved those.

          I have an old flagon, Pete; it was in a skip. I kept it as a curiosity.

          • Corky

             /  February 23, 2019

            What about a Topsy, Kitty? Old style that is. A real ‘ refined’ women’s ice cream.
            The type you eat while looking down your nose at the chattering class passing by.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 23, 2019

              Trolling again, even here…

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  February 23, 2019

              If I were you, I’d look up the expression ‘chattering classes’. It doesn’t mean what you seem to think that it does. Evelyn Waugh coined it, I think.

  4. Blazer

     /  February 23, 2019

    ‘fair suck of the sav…Trev’.

  5. Ray

     /  February 23, 2019

    We get beer in “growlers” here now, I gather it is a craft beer term from the USA. Smaller than a half g , remember old guys carrying leather lawn bowling bags on Friday night home, perfect cover for carrying half g home.
    The sort of people who called the UK “home” called vacuuming “hovering ” round here, quite rare though.
    There are a fair number of farming terms that have quite a regional variation, fencing gear would normally mean the things to strain the fence or build it, in Taranaki it is all the things to build a fence.

    • Blazer

       /  February 23, 2019

      copious amounts of beer,can make quite ugly …growlers look quite…appealing.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 23, 2019

        Hoovering is quite common for things like ‘the dog hoovered up his dinner’.

        • Mother

           /  February 23, 2019

          Some people say, “Cherry” or “Cherrio” for “goodbye”.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  February 24, 2019

            I’ve heard ‘cheerio’, but not ‘cherry’. A friend and I always say ‘hooray’ in a two person revival. It was a real surprise to hear a young girl saying it.

  6. Kitty Catkin

     /  February 23, 2019

    I never heard ‘donko’, Pete, only smoko room when I was growing up in Wanganui.

    • Deffo a Wangaz saying, Kitty. A Donko was a temporary or pre-fab building used as a break room. I think the name comes from an American company, possibly something to do with WW2?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  February 24, 2019

        I googled it…it’s an NZ term, according to what I read, not just Wanganui, and one theory is that it’s where the donkey engine was (wot’s that ?)

        Google has it as a 70s expression, but it’s unfamiliar to me. I was an infant in the 70s, of course 😀

        • I always thought it was wider than just Whanganui, but’s its only in the River City that I can say for sure I heard it used. I like the derivation from donkey engine, that sounds likely to me.

  7. Gezza

     /  February 23, 2019

    The bog was the loo. Same elsewhere in NZ?

  8. Blazer

     /  February 24, 2019

    ‘solo mothers handbag’ for a 3lt Wine cask…is a good one.🎯