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Kiwi BBQ Slang 101

By Urban List Writers
2nd Mar 2018

Kiwi BBQ Slang 101

Despite the dodgy weather Auckland’s been throwing at us (we love you Auckland, but you’re really testing our patience), summer is not yet over and the time for beaches, brews and BBQs is still very much upon us. And, with summer, comes Kiwi slang—a language recognisable only to us locals.

And, while we’ve shared a whopping 75 words you need in your lingo, we thought it only fitting as it’s BBQ season to share those words that anyone calling themselves a Kiwi really needs to know.

Whatever your vibe, read this handy guide and nek minnit, you’ll be spinning heaps of all good yarns this summer.


Barbecue. Abbreviated to BBQ. A framework, as a grill or a spit, or a fireplace for cooking meat or vegetables over an open fire. 

The crown jewel of any Kiwi backyard in the summertime, the barbie is the Cooker of Food and the Epicentre of Banter. So treasured is this humble piece of cooking equipment, that the legends at Best Foods mayonnaise are dedicating a whole day to it. Ummm, what? That’s right, Sunday 4th March is now officially National BBQ Day, so gather the family and get amongst.  

Operated by a designated cooker, the barbie acts like a magnet for any and all men to gather around and provide backseat, blow-by-blow feedback on a) the designated cooker’s barbecuing technique, b) the little tyke’s latest Saturday morning bout of rugby, c) how much of a “stunna” the day is, or d) all of the above.

Chilly Bin (pronounced chully bun)

Cooler. A container for keeping food or bottles cool.

If there’s one thing worse than food poisoning at a barbecue, it’s warm beverages. Through a combination of frozen water cubes (commonly known as ice) and materials designed to keep heat out and coolness in, chilly bins are an iconic part of summer.

Any self-respecting Kiwi taking a trip to the beach or spending a beautiful afternoon playing some BYC will make sure to invest in a chilly bin for their brews. Can also be used to chill food.


Soft drink. A beverage made from carbonated water, flavouring and sweetener.

Coming in a range of different flavours like lemonade, cola, orange and raspberry, fizzy is a refreshing beverage that always has a place in the chilly bin.

Hard Yakka

Hard work. A great deal of effort or endurance.

Putting on a successful BBQ can be gruelling for the designated cooker, requiring lightning-fast reflexes, quick thinking, a handful of multi-tasking, charm and charisma. The hosts of these events are putting in hard yakka to make sure everyone is fed, hydrated and suitably happy.


Flip-flop, sandal. A light shoe with a thong between the big and second toe.

During summer, the only acceptable state for your feet to be in is either bare or in jandals.

For when you need to cross hot melting asphalt for ice creams, or run into the local dairy for a fizzy, or can’t tell if there are prickles in the grass between the carpark and the beach—your jandals are your best friend.


Short Shorts. Designed for maximum mobility and sun exposure.

Long enough to be tasteful but short enough to expose the oft-neglected thighs to some desperately needed sun tanning, stubbies help the Kiwi male balance out his complexion.


Sausage. A cylindrical food item made of minced pork or other stuffing, designed to be cooked and eaten.

Snags are an essential part of any New Zealander’s formative years in primary school.

The recipe is simple: sausages and onions cooked on the barbie, plain white bread, and any condiments you want (tomato sauce, mustard, mayonnaise (Best Foods obv) – the list is endless).  Entire school fundraisers have been met just from the draw power of snags outside hardware stores and supermarkets, such is the power of the sausage.

Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap

To put on sunscreen.

An entire generation of young Kiwis were exposed to Tiger the Prawn and his easy to learn, hard to forget sun smart advice: slip into some shade, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on some sunnies.

Because if you’re weren’t going to listen to your parents, at least CGI seafood can help prevent melanoma.


To give without expecting in return.

When you run out of money on your HOP card and ask your friend to cover your bus fare to the barbecue, they’re doing you a solid and shouting your fare.

We’re a nation of lovers, winners and fighters who never leave a mate behind, and expect nothing in return. Except for a solid next time you forget your wallet at Maccas.


Sunglasses. Glasses tinted to protect eyes from sunlight.

Essential items for A Great New Zealand Road Trip include a playlist full of certified Kiwi bangers, a solid driving arm tan, several packets of chippies, and sunglasses so driver and passengers alike can take in the beauty of our country without the sunlight searing their retinas.

Whether you’ve got aviators, designer dirty dogs, or something in between, just make sure they protect against those harmful UV rays and let the good times roll.


Swimwear. Clothing worn for swimming.

Don’t be fooled by their comfortable appearance, there is a time and a place for wearing togs. If you’re near a body of water—like the beach or your mate’s poolside BBQ—you’re in the clear.

Leaving the general vicinity of H2O puts you at risk of looking like you’re wearing underwear in public and in full view of modest families, frail old women and children of all ages. You’ve been warned. 

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