The New Zealand Māori Internet Society – Te Whanau Ipurangi


Name: The New Zealand Māori Internet Society
Also Known As: NZMIS, Te Whanau Ipurangi
Entity Type: Incorporated Society
Affiliations: AMIO, New Zealand Maori Internet Soceity
Industry Sector: Internet
Web site:
Date Established: 1997
Membership Model: Open to anyone.


Originally established to represent online Māori due to perceived discrimination at the time (see history below) NZMIS lobbied for the worlds first open Indigenous 2nd Level domain which is now a popular choice in domain names.

At its peak, the membership was nearly 2000 members.

The organisation was a lobby group lobbying InternetNZ, Domain Name Commissioner and government for representative changes. It also assumed the moderation role of the domain when it faced the ultimatum of being removed from the DNS.



Ross Himona was the founder of NZMIS and appointed Kaumatua of the Society and an honorary life time member in 2000.

Below is an essay written by Ross Himona.

In 1995 I first ventured into Cyberspace. That’s not long ago, but in Internet time it was quite early in the development of public access Internet in Aotearoa New Zealand. It was for instance well before the advent of Xtra and Clear and Ihug. At the time there were no New Zealand based Internet Service Providers with nationwide coverage, and I joined the US service, Compuserve, to be able to connect from the main centers in this country. The first thing I did was look for Māori on the Net, and for Māori content on the World Wide Web. There were very few Māori, and there were virtually no authentic Māori websites. What I did find in online forums, in newsgroups, and in websites, was that Pākehā were presuming to present a Māori perspective to the world on our behalf.


Quite perturbed, I decided to build my first website, which is still there, called “From Hawaiki to Hawaiki”. In this website I set out to present clearly and unmistakably a Māori view of Māori, and to seize the initiative back from those who were presuming to tell our stories. I also became quite aggressively involved in various online forums and newsgroups in order to make the point about Māori ownership of matters Māori.
Not long after, Kamera Raharaha (Te Aupouri) from Auckland also published her first website called Māori Organisations of New Zealand. We sought each other out, and worked together to develop what we saw as an authentic Māori presence on the Internet. These two websites became the pioneer Māori sites on the Web, and became models for many Māori who have since ventured into cyberspace as e-publishers.
We soon became aware that the Internet in Aotearoa New Zealand was controlled by a small group of Pākehā, mostly linked to the universities, Waikato and Victoria in particular. It was the universities that had brought the Internet to the country. We thought that Māori ought to stake a claim to the Internet in Aotearoa.
We realised also the enormous potential of the medium for Māori to present our stories and our perspective to the world. From the moment we published our websites we were both inundated with visitors from all over the globe, wanting to know more about Māori and Māori culture. The medium is available to all, affordable, and is a global medium.
In 1997 the Internet Society of New Zealand (ISOCNZ) asked for submissions on second-level domain names. The names available were <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, <>, and <>.


The <> domain name was only available to a very limited number of organisations, and only on application to a moderator. I thought at the time that Māori needed a generic domain name, and one that makes a bold statement about the place of the tangata whenua in the affairs of Aotearoa New Zealand. From our experience on the Web, Kamera and I knew that there was enormous interest in Māori, and in fact the Māori websites were the ones that made Aotearoa New Zealand unique in the world.
Kamera and I were also acutely aware that Pākehā had pounced on some of our Māori domain names. <> had been registered by a Pākehā in Southland before we could do it ourselves. Kamera managed to get <>, and I registered <> and <>.
The USA domain names <> and <> had also been taken by non-Māori. They were registering them for commercial purposes without a thought for the rights of the tangata whenua to their own names.
I was doing a technology contract at Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust at the time (in 1997) and applied to ISOCNZ for a new second-level domain <>. The application was quite well supported given that it was submitted at very short notice. However, as this was a public process I then received what was my first avalanche of anti-Māori email. There were many more to come over the following years, for a variety of different online campaigns. I also received some very disparaging comments from a couple of members of ISOCNZ.
In the event ISOCNZ decided against allowing any more second-level domain names.
Kamera Raharaha and I then decided to form the Māori Internet Society with the long-term aim of wresting control of part of the Internet for Māori – Māori control of things Māori. We solicited membership and gained about ten members. However as we were both heavily involved in developing our own online presence on the Net, we did not actively promote the society at that time, but agreed that we would wait until more Māori became involved on the Internet.
The Society needs active involvement by a core group of people who are prepared to become involved in the administration and the politics of Internet management in Aotearoa New Zealand. It also needs active support from a broad base of Māori internet users.
I maintained a Māori Internet Society page in my website, and from time to time received a few requests for information.
Early in 2000, after the interest seemed to increase somewhat, I decided to re-launch it via an email list. There was immediate interest from a small group of Internet activists who thought that the Society should be incorporated, and who indicated that they were willing to play an active role. As Founder, I then appointed an interim executive to incorporate the Society and hold elections. The Chairman of that interim executive, Karaitiana Taiuru, has done an excellent job, and with his committee, is well on the way to converting our informal society into a vibrant and effective representative group for Māori on the Internet.


Key People

  • Adrianne Paranihi
  • Andrea Malcolm
  • Bernadette Murray
  • Colin Heke
  • Erana Wineti
  • Godfrey H. Pohatu
  • Hauiti Hakopa
  • Hone Phillips
  • Ivor Jones
  • Kamera Rahara
  • Karaitiana Taiuru
  • Kupe Waa
  • Leon Symes
  • Leona Karauria
  • Michael Ross
  • Paula Collins
  • Pikiora Wylie
  • Richard Orzecki
  • Riki Robinson
  • Ross Himona
  • Tame Iti
  • Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara
  • Teanau Tuiono
  • Tiopira Hape
  • Tony Murray
  • Tumohe Clarke
  • Vance Walker


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