A request for the "immediate" addition of .maori to the second level of the New Zealand DNS is unlikely to succeed - at least for now.
The request came this week in a late submission from Ross Himona, director of the Te Kohanga Reo National Trust's Project Amiorangi, to the Internet Society (ISOCNZ) committee set up to consider change and additions to New Zealand's second-level domains.
Project Amiorangi aims to create a nationwide telecommunications system, or "virtual wananga", between 750 kohanga reo and, eventually, all Maori educational institutions.
Himona says he made his submission after being told by ISOCNZ registrar Patrick O'Brien that his trust did not meet the criteria for the .ac domain, because it was not a tertiary institution but a registered charitable trust.
"On the basis that most NZ universities and polytechs have purloined the title of 'Wananga' from Maori, and have wrongly applied it to the tertiary institution only, I believe I should be able to use .ac for our movement. For the Wananga in Maori society was and is a whole-of-life institution.
"[O'Brien's] advice that if people look for us on the Net they will most likely look for us under .org is absolute codswallop. They would most likely look under .maori if it existed."
Himona notes that of the 10 second-level domain currently used, only one - .iwi - is specifically Maori
"I believe the current system is inappropriate for this country which is bi-cultural, and the system certainly does not cater for the tangata whenua."
The .iwi domain was introduced in a similar sentiment, but until recently has been notably unsuccessful. Its hitherto sole occupant, Tainui, has just been joined by three other tribes - Ngaitahu (which has a mail-only connection), Ngati awa and Ngati Porou. Ngati Porou has a Website due for launch, but although Tainui Corporation has a Web presence at www.tainui-corp.co.nz, its owner, the Tainui Trust Board is not expected to use tainui.iwi.nz on the Web any time soon.
Himona himself has compiled whakapapa resources and other information for Ngati Khahungunu and several other iwi, but these are have no domains of their own and are hosted on Compuserve's user homepages server in the US.
Because changes to the current DNS structure may take some time to complete, Himona has made an "immediate request" that "the second level domain .maori be registered ASAP. It is would be a suitable generic domain name until we can together devise a more bicultural system.
ISOCNZ chairman Jim Higgins says fast-tracking on this issue is out of the question.
"All of those submissions are considered by the committee appointed to do that. We never do immediate anything. We consult with people. Certainly the committee will have a look at it, we'll go out and consult with other groups that are in a like situation and we'll see what sort of feedback we get. We just don't things without consulting.
"It's a tricky area and there's no way we'd leap in and take the word of one person. We'd need to really consult with all iwi. To some degree I've already begun doing that, because we will be migrating responsibility for the .iwi domain, among others. So that submission will be taken into account."