English and Maori are the official languages of New Zealand.
The Maori Language
Maori became an official language in 1987. New Zealand is the only country in the world where Maori is spoken. Despite its official status, the language continues to struggle against being lost.
In the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, Queen Victoria gave her word to the Maori that their language would be protected. however, it was only in recent years that the Maori language gathered its widespread support. Currently the Maori language is used in the media and in schools.
In the 1940's when Maori people moved out of rural areas and into the cities the Maori language began to decline and children were raised in English rather than Maori.
By the 1970's, the Maori language was close to extinction and therefore an effort was made to include the native language into the media and school curriculums.
A recent survey by the New Zealand government shows about 130,000 people speak some Maori in New Zealand.
In early 2006 New Zealand became the first country to declare sign language as an official language.
The New Zealand accent can be difficult to understand, even for speakers of the English language.
Here are just a few samples of specific words used in daily life New Zealand:
Barbie - Barbeque
Bro - Friend, Brother
Bush - Forest of native trees and plants
Down Under - Australia, New Zealand
Footy - Rugby
Gidday - Hello, Good day
Good as Gold - Affirmative, approval of quality
Heaps - A lot
Hows it going mate? - Greeting, how are you?
Jumper - Sweatshirt
Knackered - Exhausted
Mozzie - Mosquito
No Sweat - No problem
OE - Overseas experience, long term holiday
Op Shop - Second hand shop
Pouring down - Heavy rain
Ripped off - Paid too much
Sweet As - Very good
Ta - Thanks
Tea - Dinner, evening meal
Togs - Swimwear
Maori words that are often used in daily life in New Zealand:
Kumara - Sweet Potato
Haere Mai - Come here
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