The slightly less popular cousin to Australian, the English-New Zealand accent has been gaining wider popularity particularly through smaller cult shows such as Flight of the Conchords and the more recent What We Do In The Shadows.
With a slightly smoother edge to it than Australian it presents a approachable tone that suggests fun and hilarity will ensue. Perfect for the comedy you are planning. Actor and director Taika Waititi has burst onto the scene with Thor: Ragnarok and JoJo Rabbit shining a spotlight on the lesser known country.
The English language was established in New Zealand by colonists during the 19th century. It is one of 'the newest native-speaker varieties of the English language in existence, which has developed and become distinctive only in the last 150 years' The most distinctive influences on New Zealand English have come from Australian English, English in southern England, Irish English, Scottish English, and Māori, which is the indigenous language.
Out of the 4.8 million people who live in New Zealand, more than 95% of them speak New-Zealand English. It is largely the accent that distinguishes it from other forms of English though, although there is obviously local slang which has been developed and added.
The only regional dialect is in Southland and parts of Otago, where an 'R' sound is more commonly pronounced after vowels.
Vowels are where a lot of the distinctiveness is to be found in New-Zealand English. The vowel in words like ‘farm’ and ‘park’ is long and pronounced ‘ah’. The word ‘kit’ is pronounced rather like ‘cut’. The vowel in ‘trap’ is pronounced high in the mouth, and outside New Zealand can be mistaken for the vowel in ‘dress’ like 'trep'. The vowel in ‘bed’ also has a raised pronunciation, and can be mistaken for ‘bead’.
New Zealand English tends to sound very similar to Australian to those outside of both countries. New Zealanders tend to pronounce their [u] sounds more prominently whereas Australians pronounce their vowels with more emphasis on the sound [ee]. These kinds of vowel differences may sound subtle to an American or a Brit, but they're what you'll need to listen out for if you want to make an accurate guess.
The Kiwi accent is typically associated with fun and so you will find it appearing as comic relief as has been seen with Rhys Darby in movies such as Jumanji and A Series of Unfortunate Events. It has also been used in a lot of voice-overs for animated shows. The New-Zealand English character will typically be the unprofessional boss or the nerdy friend or the stalker love interest.
The rock creature Korg in Thor: Ragnarok was voiced by director Taiti Waikiti and is one of the most fun characters to watch when trying to learn the language.
We bet that if you’re not a New Zealander yourself, you’re already thinking ‘Lord of the Rings!’ The natural beauty of New Zealand certainly lent itself well to that fantasy movie, but real New Zealanders know that apart from having nice forests, they’re also a global power with a strong economy and, according to surveys, some of the happiest people in the world. Are you asking yourself why you need a New Zealander for your voice over? New Zealand English is attractive: there’s a certain laid back lilt and of course, they have their own slang, too. It certainly doesn’t sound the same as English from elsewhere. Voice overs must engage the listener and a local accent certainly does that. It’s not that New Zealanders won’t understand a Brit or an American, but on a sub-conscious level, they’ll find the voice ‘foreign’. Get voice overs by real New Zealanders and get the benefit of authenticity. Fit right in with our BunnyStudio voice actors. It’s easy. We’ll help you to choose an actor that’s right for your message and your listeners will be ‘stoked’ (as they say in New Zealand).