Munted is the kiwi slang term that became well known when we had our 7.1 magnitude Canterbury Earthquake in 2010 and the 6.3 magnitude Christchurch Earthquake in February 2011. Christchurch was so broken and damaged that the word munted got bantered around and used a lot. Everything was munted! Buildings, houses, roads and lots of the infrastructure.
Some very clever entrepreneurs made t-shirts with the words ‘munted‘. We had some Facebook pages using this phrase as their title too. The word became a very common saying and it made people laugh and see the funny side of such a horrible time. If you didn’t laugh you would cry, so it was essential to keep a positive mood over the years of the earthquakes and aftershocks.
Kiwis started using the phrase to talk about something that was badly damaged or ruined, that’s why it has been so synonymous with the Christchurch Earthquakes. Phrases like, ‘The road way absolutely munted‘, would be used in reference to the massive cracks that formed in many roads.
Munted is also used in another way here, Australia and Britain where people refer to someone who is extremely intoxicated or they have taken drugs. The person would be in such a state that they would have trouble walking and putting together coherent sentences.
There are a few debates about where the word actually originated. We used it a lot in Christchurch as it was a better word to say that using swear words when referring to damaged buildings. It doesn’t seem to get used much now as Christchurch has gone through a massive rebuilding phrase. It would be used more now when someone is intoxicated and some people seem to think this was where the word came from.
As a photographer I’ve always had a passion for creative art and recently I have started to feature some Kiwiana digital prints with sayings, words, phrases and colloquialisms in my Etsy store.
If you’re a home sick Kiwi living abroad, my artwork may just be an ideal solution for a dose of New Zealand artwork to decorate your home or office.