Macrons not recognised in email by Government and Polytechnic web sites and systems
If you have te reo Māori or macrons in your email address, it is unlikely you will be able to contact a government department, MP, local council or a polytechnic.
Most of the 158 NZ government department website online contact forms surveyed, would not accept an email with macrons. This included Te Puni Kōkiri, Te Mangai Paho and Parliament who would not only decline an email address with a macron in their online forms, but were the only three government organisations whose also bounced emails that were directly sent. Te Taura Whiri (The Māori Language Commission) appears to also not recognise te reo Māori in email addresses when contacted directly.
Contacting an MP via their official .parliament.nz email address will not work. Though the research didn’t conduct research into their alternative emails addresses with the exception of three Māori MP’s who received and replied to an email with te reo Māori macrons.
The one government department who has an active web site address using a macron – The Human Rights Commission would not recognise a te reo Māori email address for their newsletter form.
One city council would not allow me to type te reo Māori in the comment box as it contained a macron. If i used a non te reo Māori email address, it would still not all me to write Māori as a comment.
Of the 8 Universities in New Zealand, only Auckland University didn’t recognise te reo Māori emails in their online forms while 2 Universities have no online form.
Of the 19 Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics in New Zealand, only 4 institutions recognise te reo Māori emails in their online forms. When institutions are emailed directly, the majority of replies were made to a different email address, suggesting that the customer service was so great, that an alternative contact email was found on the Internet.
The New Zealand Government in 2013 offered a shared Common Web Service for government departments which offers multiple benefits to departments and increased cost savings, yet the system will not recognise te reo Māori. Once the Open Source community were made aware of this, it began to act quickly to rectify the issue.
I don’t believe there is any intentional disrespect for the Māori Language and it’s Act nor any Treaty issues as the departments who do not accept te reo Māori in their contact forms have bilingual names that appear on their web sites, and many government departments expressed an interest in registering their bilingual name as a domain name. It is also common for web sites to be managed by content people without the appropriate technical skills.
In 2009 I lobbied the Domain Name Commissioner for macrons to be included in web and email names (domain names) using an international technology called International Domain Names (IDN) which allow for the use on non English characters to be used in domain names.
In mid 2010 this was technically made possible by recognising Māori macrons in all .nz addresses. Also by default, all .maori.nz addresses can be used with a macron as .māori.nz though only about 25% work due to requiring configuration.
The complete report will be published next week.