American living in New Zealand shares her experience with local lingo

American living in New Zealand shares her experience with local lingo

An American’s Cultural Journey in New Zealand: Navigating Language and Lifestyle Differences – 

Kayla, an American who relocated from New York City to Auckland in August 2023, has been documenting her cultural adjustments on TikTok.

From encountering unfamiliar phrases to adapting to diverse lifestyle nuances, Kayla shares her experiences and observations since her move to New Zealand.

Language Confusion:

Kayla highlights some of the Kiwi phrases that initially left her puzzled. One such phrase, ‘Up the Wahs,’ caught her attention repeatedly, leading her to Google its meaning.

To her surprise, it turned out to be the slogan for the Warriors rugby team. Another linguistic challenge was deciphering ‘arvo,’ which she later learned simply means ‘afternoon’ after a quick online search.

Navigating Different Names:

Adjusting to the varied names for everyday items posed another challenge. Kayla humorously recounts her confusion when a coworker referred to sweet potato as ‘kumara.’

While initially perplexed, she embraced the Maori term and appreciated the cultural diversity it brought to her vocabulary.

Learning Essential Terms:

In her quest to understand local terminology, Kayla shares essential terms, such as ‘tramping,’ which she recognizes as a crucial word for her planned hiking adventures.

She clarifies that ‘tramping’ is synonymous with ‘hiking’ in New Zealand.

Cultural Quirks and Driving Challenges:

Kayla sheds light on some distinctive cultural differences, including driving on the left side of the road with the steering wheel on the right side of the car. There are also other differences when it comes to local laws and practices in New Zealand that must be applied by all inhabitants, even if they are not aware of them.

She expresses trepidation about driving in New Zealand and humorously mentions the adjustment to public transportation, where people flag down buses like hitchhiking.

Miscellaneous Cultural Variances:

Kayla enumerates other quirky disparities, such as parking on the grass instead of the curb, the unique domestic flying experience, and the dining culture where patrons settle bills at the front counter, eliminating the need for tipping.

She also touches on the use of the metric system, numbered elevators, and the practice of turning outlets on and off.

Embracing the Kiwi Lifestyle:

Despite missing familiar aspects of American life, such as Trader Joe’s and the typical dining experience, Kayla expresses her love for her new life in Auckland.

Her decision to move was fueled by a desire for adventure, access to nature, and a change in the pace of life, which New Zealand offers abundantly.


Kayla’s cultural journey in New Zealand captures the charm and challenges of adapting to a new environment.

From linguistic curiosities to lifestyle adjustments, her experiences reflect the rich tapestry of cultural exchange, highlighting the beauty of embracing diversity and discovering the unique facets of life in a foreign land.

TDPel Media

This article was published on TDPel Media. Thanks for reading!

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