Celebrating Te Wiki o te Reo Māori in the .nz domain name space

Guest post from staff of the Office of the Domain Name Commission

Language – it’s something we use every day, from the most casual conversation to the formality of education, government, and business.  We often take it for granted. And, as many of us know, language is living – it evolves and transforms to meet our ever-changing needs.

Here in New Zealand, we have three official languages: English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.  This week, we’re focusing on te Reo Māori.

Māori Language Week provides Kiwis with an opportunity to celebrate our second most spoken language. People and organisations across the country are uniting around a shared goal: Kia Kaha te Reo Māori – Let’s make the Māori language strong.

Part of making a language strong is making it ubiquitous. We’ve seen this more and more across New Zealand and online, with signposts and websites displaying both English and te Reo.

In the .nz domain name space, domain names can be registered that end in .maori.nz and .iwi.nz. These second level domains give domain name holders unique identifiers that allow for greater meaningfulness in their domain name registrations. The way the spaces work, means they also cater for macronised vowels (think ā, ē, ī, ō, ū). These special characters are not found in the English language.

Like most other second levels, .maori.nz is unmoderated, meaning anyone can register a .maori.nz domain name.

The .iwi.nz space, however, is moderated, with several restrictions on who can register in the space. Applicants must be a Hapu belonging to an Iwi or a taura here Iwi group operating with permission from the main Iwi. (Full details on the requirements can be found here)

Why should New Zealand be proud of its .maori.nz and .iwi.nz domain name spaces?

To gain a better understanding of how consumers feel about their spaces, we spoke to the .iwi.nz Moderator, Karaitiana Taiuru, who approves .iwi.nz registrations, and to Urs Signer, Marketing Manager for Para Kore, about his organisations use of a .maori.nz domain name.

.iwi.nz domain name space

To start with, could you briefly introduce yourself, and tell us a bit about how you became involved in the .iwi.nz domain name space?

Karaitiana: “I trace my Māori decent to three main Iwi; Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Rarua and Ngāti Kahungunu. I have been involved with digital and Indigenous issues since the late 1990’s when I began my career in the ICT industry.

I became the .iwi.nz moderator in 2001 when there was difficulty trying to find a stable moderator and someone who was able to future proof the domain name, something I did.”


What role do you think the .iwi.nz space plays in the wider New Zealand internet community?

Karaitiana: “It is reflective of a unique society that we have in New Zealand. We are bicultural and as a nation are built on those cultural partnerships and differences. Native Americans have similar domain spaces but they are not as independent as our .iwi.nz.

The .iwi.nz is an authentic brand that tells you that the web site or the email with an .iwi.nz is an authoritative Iwi that has had to show that they have a mandate. It is a safety check that assures you that the people and organisation is an Iwi.”


There are a couple of domain name spaces we’re highlighting for Māori Language Week – the .iwi.nz space, and the .maori.nz space. From your perspective, what do you see as the main differences between the two spaces, and how do you see the spaces working together?

Karaitiana: “The two domain spaces are both unique and … have little or nothing in common. .iwi.nz is a unique identifier for Iwi and Hapu who are collectives who trace their group genealogy back to identified and acknowledged ancestors. Increasingly in today’s society these Iwi organisations can range from large commercial entities with a lot of political influence to small organisations about to begin their new commercial endeavours.

.maori.nz and its default .māori.nz on the other hand is for individuals, projects, groups and anything else that identifies as Māori. This is where they can identify and express being Māori online.”


What would you like to see for the future of the .iwi.nz space? Are there changes that you’d like to see; are there things that the space is doing well that you’d like to see continue?

Karaitiana: “Iwi are an engrained part of New Zealand society that will never go away. There is no possibility that a commercial or societal change will see Iwi disappear. Therefore, I believe that the .iwi.nz domain will be in existence for as long as we use domain names.

Historically the .iwi.nz domain has been confined to European centric rules that govern all of the other moderated domains. For .iwi.nz to truly prosper and be a unique domain name, the basic principles of the Treaty of Waitangi need to be considered and allow an Indigenous governance model and decision making process to allow and monitor changes.

The criteria needs to grow to accommodate the ever changing role of Iwi in today’s society. The current moderation rules do not allow for this change and reflection.”

.maori.nz domain name space

The .maori.nz domain name space is distinct from .iwi.nz. The space gives people and groups the ability to identify and express being Māori online. To get a different perspective on the .maori.nz space, we spoke to a group who uses a .maori.nz domain name every day. Para Kore is a group with a vision for all marae to operate on a zero-waste basis by 2020.

We spoke to Urs Signer, Marketing Manager for Para Kore, and asked him to outline how their organisation uses their .maori.nz domain name, and why it is important to them.


Why did your organisation choose to register in the .maori.nz space?

Urs: “As a Zero Waste movement, it is important to us to be instantly recognised around Aotearoa and across the world as a kaupapa Māori organisation. We mihi to the Māori Internet Society who played a key role in the early 2000s in establishing the .maori.nz domain name. Our website is a key tool in how we communicate with others and how people find and contact us. For us, it just makes perfect sense to have a .maori.nz domain name.”


What do you use your .maori.nz domain name for?

Urs: “We use our domain for our website and for email addresses used by our team of kaiārahi and kaimahi.”


Do you think the .maori.nz domain name space is important for New Zealand? Why?

Urs: “Āe, he taonga te pūnaha ingoa tauwāhi o Aotearoa. We are a kaupapa Māori organisation; our group has a Māori name; we promote the use of te Reo Māori so it's awesome to demonstrate our commitment to Te Ao Māori with a .maori.nz domain name.”


What would you say to someone thinking of registering a .maori.nz domain name?

Urs: “Kia kaha!”

We want to thank Karaitiana and Urs for taking the time to provide their commentary on .iwi.nz and .maori.nz. While these second level domains may be small in numbers when compared to all of .nz, they are of high value and importance to its members. .iwi.nz gives Iwi the opportunity to have an authoritative presence online, while .maori.nz allows domain name holders to express their Māoritanga and represent their unique heritage online. In the same way as with other second level domains in the .nz space, .maori.nz is a unique identifier that gives people greater choice, and a distinctive online presence.

For more information on Māori Language Week 2018, visit http://www.tewikiotereomaori.co.nz/ or email us on info@dnc.org.nz with any feedback about any of the .nz domain name spaces.  Kia kaha te reo Māori!