May 9, 2021

TangataWhenua.com

Maori News & Indigenous Views

.kiwi Letter of Support – Karaitiana Taiuru

2 min read

On behalf of the New Zealand Maori Internet Society we thank you for your co-operation in making the new .kiwi domain name a culturally safe and innovative domain name.

To our knowledge this is the first domain in the world that considers the Indigenous Peoples of any country. Your organisation is a role model for all other domain name companies and CC-TLD operators.

.kiwis foresight to protect Maori God names, Iwi names and its innovative thinking to allow the .kiwi domain to be offered bi-lingual is a major achievement for both New Zealand Maori and as a benchmark for any company in the world wishing to be sensitive to Indigenous Peoples needs.

For the first time since the introduction of the Internet and World Wide Web into Aotearoa New Zealand has the Maori People been seriously considered and consulted. The effort of .Kiwi to listen to Maori occurred in a matter of weeks, yet sadly in 2012, 13 years since online Maori asked for recognition online in their own country: we are still fighting to have our voices heard and action to be taken to rectify online issues.

.nz History

New Zealand has .iwi.nz which was created without any consultation of Maori or Iwi. Its policy was so rigid and myopic that it excluded 99% of traditional Iwi. A token gesture of Maori support that only disenfranchised Maori online more at a time when we had a digital divide that was over represented by Maori.

Again, despite individual efforts for the Domain Name System (DNS) to reflect Maori society, namely the submission by Ross Himona for .kohanga.nz, Maori were still ignored up to 2001 when the New Zealand Maori Internet Society successfully applied for and won the submission process for the creation of .maori.nz . Though still restrictive it was a major milestone for Maori and the Web.
Within minutes of .maori.nz being made public, Iwi names and other significant names were registered by a dubious company who immediately listed them all for sale at inflated prices, some of at more than 1000% their original price. Since then, on-going monitoring of
sensitive names has been voluntarily made and complaints made when applicable.

Then in 2005 the New Zealand Maori Internet Society formally asked for the .nz Domain Name system to be offered bilingual and in consideration of New Zealands laws including the Treaty of Waitangi and the Maori Language Act. The response was a simple it is not part of our policy.

In 2007 we asked for the ability to include macrons in .nz domain names. A feature that was already possible for many non-speaking English languages around the world. After almost a year I was notified that a public consultation would begin. Then almost another year later
the ability to use macrons in any .nz address was possible.

Again I thank .kiwi for their appreciation of Indigenous Peoples and the need to protect their Intellectual Property within the restrictive realms they have.

 

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