New Zealand Post - official issuer of New Zealand stamps & commemorative coins

Classic Kiwi

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G’day mate! Out in the wop-wops or in the big smoke? Getting a bit of an ear-bashing from every man and his dog with some lingo you can’t get your head around? You may feel like a drongo, even pack a sad or throw a wobbly, but listen up – you’ll be right as rain in a jiffy!

Issue information

Confused? We may speak English in New Zealand, but we have a distinct set of common expressions that can leave many English-speaking visitors in the dark!

This ‘Kiwi slang’ is very much an expression of our culture, a characteristic that has developed ever since the first settlers arrived on our shores. It may not have its origins here, but it has been absorbed into our lives and evolved through generations to become part of who we are.

Today, Kiwi slang is so distinctive that we have our own, officially published, dictionary. It’s also gained international recognition through the achievements of New Zealand playwrights, writers, actors and comedians – people like the black-singletted, gumboot-wearing, ‘hard case’ comedian Fred Dagg; Māori singer and comedian Billy T James; and writer Barry Crump, a rugged outdoors man whose novels featured good-natured, itinerant and self-sufficient characters and an idiomatic ‘blokey’ writing style.

This stamp issue highlighted some marvellous examples of our unique cultural expressions. Featuring 20 sayings – from ‘bit of a dag’ to ‘hard yakka’ and ‘hissy fit’ – it shows just how imaginative and enterprising we are in finding phrases that are ingeniously fit for purpose. From the onomatopoeic to the absurdly hilarious, they reflect the Kiwi attitude – laid-back, can do, good as gold.

By holding your finger on the black portion of a stamp and, through the magic of heat-sensitive ink, the 'English translations' will be revealed. 

Kiwi Slang

Here's the examples of our cultural experssions that you found on these stamps:

  • Bit of a dag
  • Dreaded lurgy
  • Rark up
  • Knackered
  • Laughing gear
  • Cods wollop
  • Boots and all
  • Shark and taties
  • Good as gold
  • Sweet as
  • She'll be right
  • Hissy fit
  • Sparrow fart
  • Cuz
  • Away laughing
  • Tiki tour
  • Away with the fairies
  • Hard yakka

Product Listing for Classic Kiwi

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Image Title Description Price
Set of Stamps

Mint, used or cancelled sheet of 20 x 50c stamps (new rub and reveal stamps).

Set of First Day Covers Set of two first day covers with gummed stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $11.00

Technical information

Date of issue: 4 July 2007
Number of stamps: 20
Denominations: 20 designs, one denomination 50c
Stamps and first day cover designed by:  Alan Hollows, Stamps Business, Wellington
Printer and process:  Southern Colour Print by offset lithography
Number of colours: Four process colours plus thermochromic ink
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104 gsm red phosphor stamp paper
Numebr of stamps per sheet: 20
Perforation gauge: 14 x 14
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 3 July 2008.