What Do They Call a Cooler in New Zealand?

what do they call a cooler in new zealand

In New Zealand, a cooler is known as a ‘chilly bin’. The term perfectly captures the essence of the object – a bin that keeps its contents chilly. It’s a fun, quirky term that aligns well with the country’s linguistic charm and laid-back culture.

The ‘chilly bin’ is an essential item for many New Zealanders, particularly during the summer months. Known for their love of the outdoors, Kiwis often utilise chilly bins during picnics, beach outings, camping trips, and barbecues. 

Whether it’s to keep their favourite beverages cold or to ensure their ‘bangers’ (another Kiwi term for sausages) stay fresh until it’s time to grill, the chilly bin is a constant companion in many of their outdoor adventures.

Regional Variations and Shared Meanings

While ‘chilly bin’ is unique to New Zealand, it’s interesting to note the different terminologies used for the same object worldwide. In the United States and Canada, it’s commonly referred to as a ‘cooler’. Australians call it an ‘esky’, a term derived from a popular brand of coolers in Australia. Meanwhile, the British refer to it as a ‘cool box’, and in some parts of Asia like the Philippines, it’s known as an ‘ice box’.

Despite the differences in terminology, the function remains the same – a portable device to keep food and drinks cold, proving its universal utility across different climates, cultures, and activities.

The Humble Chilly Bin – a Cultural Icon

The term ‘chilly bin’ is more than just New Zealand’s version of a cooler; it’s a reflection of the country’s unique cultural identity and linguistic style. The name, just like many other local colloquialisms, adds a touch of Kiwi personality to the English language, making it distinct and memorable.

So, the next time you find yourself in the beautiful island nation of New Zealand and need to keep your food and drinks cold for an outdoor excursion, remember to ask for a ‘chilly bin’. Not only will you get what you need, but you’ll also sound like a local while you’re at it.

Shaan Nicol

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