.tangatawhenua, .hapu, .temea – coming our way

The recent decision to open anyone to create any internet domain name has been widely reported as starting a potential boom on the Internet.

The release of an unlimited number of domains, currently restricted to just 21 top level acronyms, (including .com, .net, etc), will allow for unrivaled personal expression. Every family of individual could register their own name. The decision is due to come into affect next year.

What has been little reported is the opportunity the new name structure allows indigenous people to assert their identity. The NZ Maori Internet Society is delighted at the outcome.

“It has been a long time coming we just hope that associated set up costs for Top Level Domain names will be affordable not only for Maori but for all Indigenous Peoples worldwide” said Ross Himona on the NZMIS website.

Karaitiana Taiuru, from Otautahi, a stalwart of NZMIS and a representative on the global body (called ICANN) that makes the rules on the internet naming conventions. He was due to the attend at the 26 June meeting in Paris that opened the floodgates, but regrettably missed the historic event.

He believes that there are perils in the decision, but it’s good news for Maori and other indigenous people.

“While conglomerates may see gTLDs [top level domains] as a branding exercise, cultural based groups around the world now have an opportunity to be represented on the Internet regardless of their countries majority rule or impacts of colonisation,” he wrote on his blog.

Concerns have been raised about the new system to perpetuate new scams by criminals and allow for profiteering. See the “Domain name shakeup may bring new net goldrush“.

There will be rules and hurdles in the registration process, but there seems to be lots of optimism this will recognise the rights of people to assert their identify. Non-roman characters will be able to be used for the first time.

Although I won’t be racing out to be the first to register .blyth, I’m glad there’ll soon be a choice.