The move to have a new second level domain name (2LD) .maori.nz has passed its first hurdle, scoring over 90% support in a poll organised by InternetNZ.
The poll is the first step towards the implementation of a new 2LD and required at least 70% approval from more than 200 votes. In the end over 1600 votes were recorded.
But this is only the first step in a lengthy series of moves in the process. Next the council will hear formal submissions on the issue, after which it will make an interim ruling, followed by more discussion. Finally, a ruling from the council will be made and the name accepted or rejected.
The proposer of the new name, Te Whanau Ipurangi – the New Zealand Maori Internet Society – hopes to rectify what it sees as an imbalance between New Zealand's two official languages.
"The New Zealand internet domain name system has not addressed the bicultural needs of New Zealand nor it’s growing Maori internet users. Forty-six percent of New Zealand Maori have internet access and 65% of New Zealand European’s have internet access," says the society's application to InternetNZ.
The society, which claims to have "over 1200 members" dwarfs InternetNZ, which is estimated to have fewer than 200 active members.
If accepted, .maori.nz would be the first new 2LD since the current system was introduced in 1997 when InternetNZ took over the running of the name space. The process is expected to take around eight months.