Sweet as. She’ll be right! Yeah, nah, bro.

They’re staples in Kiwi conversation, but for Red Cross volunteer Zoya Mehrfard, who moved to Wellington from Iran, they proved more than a little confusing.

Although she had a solid grasp on English, Zoya found the Kiwi accent and slang challenging when she first arrived three years ago.

“I couldn’t understand it! I had no idea what they were talking about,” she says.

Zoya has a background in architecture and hoped to find work in the industry in Wellington. However, she decided she would first need to practise the local lingo before entering the workforce.

She started volunteering in the Kilbirnie Red Cross Shop to help her get more familiar with New Zealanders’ unique version of English.

“I saw the sign asking for volunteers and I thought that’s a good idea. Now, I find the Kiwi accent is simple for me – it’s good as gold!”

Currently volunteering in the Petone Red Cross Shop, Zoya has also become a big fan of op-shopping – something she never would have considered doing before.

In Iran, op-shopping is seen as something only done by the very poor. In New Zealand, all sorts of people visit the shop, she says.

“I was very surprised. Here, it’s not just about the price. It’s about the environment, it’s about helping people. I love to work here because a variety of people come in.”

In fact, Zoya loves it so much that, when offered a job at an architecture firm, she negotiated with her new boss to be able to stay on with the Petone Red Cross Shop as well.

“I asked them for one day off a week to come here because I love working here so much.”

You can support Red Cross’ work in New Zealand and around the world by donating your preloved items and shopping at your local Red Cross Shop. Find your nearest shop.