The rise, fall and rise of .nz

The rollercoaster ride has come to an end

The 200,000th .co.nz name was registered late last month, marking the end of the rollercoaster ride that has been New Zealand’s domain name system.

It began as almost a hobby project at the University of Waikato — a system for managing the names that would be registered our country code domain space.

The Internet Society (ISCONZ) then assumed ownership of the process — more stewardship than outright ownership, I feel — and what had been a fairly easy process quickly turned unpleasant as Domainz reared its ugly head.

An IT system that had more bugs than my backyard, and cost an arm and a leg more than was intended, was launched. The result was acrimonious in-fighting, which ended in a defamation case, and that year’s AGM (2001) turned into a night of the long knives, albeit Wellington-style, with proxy votes instead of flick knives. Fortunately, this proved to be the turning point — for both the society and the domain name space.

An open-source platform became the basis for the .nz Registry; ISOCNZ became InternetNZ, and the number of column inches written about back-room shenanigans dried up overnight, for which I, for one, am grateful.

So, well done, InternetNZ and .nz Registry services, and well done to Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan, who helped make the present well-run and amicable state of affairs possible.

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