For over 20 years up till 2017, Māori fought for the right to be to be fairly represented in the New Zealand Internet Domain Name System and to a lesser extent for recognition within the New Zealand Internet governing body InternetNZ, in an act of Māori Internet activism. A simple right that most people take for granted.
Firstly in 1993 when Iwi wanted to be fairly represented on the Internet and had criteria imposed upon them by self appointed middle class male geeks, through to then threatening Iwi via the Minister of Māori Affairs Tau Henare to have iwi.nz put on hold.
In 1997 Kohanga Reo could not use and were denied a multiple of domain name suffixes such as .ac.nz or .org.nz as they did not fit in the self appointed body of the New Zealand’s Internet pre-determined suffixes. Kohanga requested a specific Māori domain name and were again denied by another sub group of the self appointed geeks.
Again in 2001 and 2002, several attempts for .maori.nz to be created to represent online Māori was termed racist and separatist and was met with some pubic outcry by non Māori. In 2001 and 2002 .iwi.nz was touted to be used instead of .maori.nz, again with out consultation.
Up to 2017, seeking the rights for Māori language to be used with macrons and for the Māori Language Act and Treaty to be recognised and for Māori to have a fair disputes process that any other organisation enjoys, were all battles Māori fought for within the New Zealand Domain Name system. Some representation issues are still being ignored today in 2017 such as disputes of Māori tribal names and intellectual property rights and Treaty recognition.
Hidden History of achievements
Despite some major achievements on the Internet by Māori that attracted national and international attention and praise, these achievements have been ignored in books and articles documenting the history of the Internet in New Zealand.
Eventually in 2014, Māori were recognised by an international company Dot Kiwi Ltd who assisted Maori for equal representation and rights that any other user has. Again, this is not well documented anywhere except for ad hoc media articles.
These pages discuss Indigenous Domain Names that were lobbied for by Māori and that were created leading to international changes in the New Zealand Internet system. These changes also saw Māori lead the way for other Indigenous Peoples to be fairly represented on the Internet.
These achievements have become a hidden undocumented history of New Zealand Internet. As a key individual with Indigenous Domain Name creation for Māori in New Zealand, I am concerned that information is being withheld, unpublished and alternative facts have been in the media and in Internet governance circles for many years.
It is noted by Muhamad-Brandner, C. (2010). Indigenous Cyberspace: The Maori Renaissance and its Influence on the Web Space of Aotearoa/New Zealand, the obvious lack of information regarding .iwi.nz and .maori.nz (both significant international achievements) on the web: including by New Zealand’s exclusive Internet governing body’s own publication about the history of the Internet in New Zealand “Connecting the Clouds” Newman,K. (2008).
The present author also notes the conspicuous absence of of any mention of the significant developments for Māori on the site downtothewire.co.nz “a site dedicated to the story of New Zealand’s Internet and how it changed our Nation. Featuring video interviews with over 50 Internet personalities and players brings alive a journey that has revolutionised our lives and shaped our future” which only mentions macrons in domain names by the Domain Name Commissioner. No other Māori domain name achievements, nor a mention in the major events timeline.
This publication represents the first and comprehensive research anywhere in the world which has been completed into Indigenous domain names, their usage and the community of interest’s perceptions of Indigenous Domains Names, specifically Māori.
At the launch of .maori.nz in 2002 (which had international attention by technical and Indigenous communities), InternetNZ made comments in the media that were incorrect and have become the new truth over a number of years (even inadvertently with the current author for some years) when among others, Sue Leader (the then Executive Director of InternetNZ) made the following statement “The key one is it’s, as far as we know, it’s the first indigenous people’s space on the global internet“. Aside from the fact that New Zealand already had .iwi.nz domain name that was created and controlled by InternetNZ, the Indigenous Domain Names timeline will show that maori.nz was in fact the third Indigenous domain name in the world, but that it was the first unmoderated Indigenous domain name in the world.
Again in 2008 the prominent and influential international Internet group APNIC published its international newsletter Issue 26 newsletter which states, the Maori were the first indigenous people in the world to have their own second level domain name, that is, .iwi.nz. InternetNZ is now considering a proposal that second-level domain names be available in both Maori and English languages to reflect the country’s bilingual culture. Further, an idea that InternetNZ has put forward to ICANN is the internationalization of domain names, an increasingly urgent issue now that more than half of the Internet’s 1.2 billion users do not speak English as a first language.
A number of factual inconsistencies above include:
- .iwi.nz was not the first Indigenous domain name. Refer to the Indigenous Domain Names timeline.
- internationalisation of .nz domain names was proposed by Māori, see timeline.
- bilingual domain names proposal was made and declined in 2007 by InternetNZ, the previous year to the article being published.
Links of interest
- A full list of GeoTLD’s can be viewed at https://icannwiki.com/New_gTLD_Geographic_Applications
- World Intelectual Organisation: The recognition of rights and the use of names in the Internet Domain System. http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/processes/process2/report/html/report.html#_edn269
- Uncharted domains and the new land rush: Indigenous Rights to Top Level Domains. Report.
- Trademark, Intellectual Property and Anti-Counterfeiting Interests (Indigenous) Intellectual Property Constituency. Report.
Note: ISOCNZ was renamed InternetNZ in 2001. These pages use the name InternetNZ in reference to that organisation.