Features of NZ Language and Literature

Features of NZ Language and Literature

Narrative point of view – who is telling the story. This will determine the tone and the language used.

Setting – ours is a beautiful, raw and sometimes harsh environment. This has influenced writers immensely. Nature and the seasons are often written about, in rural settings.

Tone – sometimes dark and moody, the NZ voice has increasingly been influenced by Maori artists and their humour, sometimes dark, is obvious.


  • informality
  • Colloquial and slang language
  • Vocabulary unique to NZ
  • Idiomatic language (fed up, cleared off, got stuck in, better off, watch out)
  • Maori words and names
  • Interjections – aye, eeeeh, yeah na
  • Ellipsis – omission of words
  • Contractions “How ya goin’?”
  • Imagery (similes, metaphors, etc)
  • Cliches – overused words and phrases (as in sports commentary and interviews)
  • Abbreviations – bikkie, choccies, rego, wof, gummies, chooks…


  • Vowel sounds
  • Rising intonation at the end of a sentence

Syntax – Sentence structure


Posted by Tracey Hames

Teacher of English at Mount Aspiring College, Wanaka, New Zealand.

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