Fat.maori.nz (Android Developer Hamish Medlin) redirects to a Google search, Lazy.maori.nz (Peter Garmaz of Auckland); a Christchurch Halswell beauty salon has registered one of the Maori’s most wealthiest Iwi names Ngai Tahu, and one individual who has bulk registered a number of other Iwi names in the new .kiwi.nz domain. Also, google.maori.nz, yahoo.maori.nz and Microsoft.maori.nz are registered by individuals not the TradeMark owners.
Audio interview with Karaitiana Taiuru on Radio Waatea here.
What do all of these web addresses have in common? They have all been hijacked by non-Maori who have chosen to exploit Maori and Iwi. These people are called cyber squatters and usually do it out of a racist motive or to hold organisations and people to ransom for the highest dollar in order to sell the address back to the rightful owner.
During its investigation, The New Zealand Maori Internet Society (NZMIS) found at least seven hijacked web addresses that breached the Terms and Conditions of registration and have issued proceedings to have the domain names cancelled. In addition to this, NZMIS are liaising with several multinational corporations of TradeMark breaches in the .maori.nz address and will be contacting and liaising with the affected 12 Iwi to have their Iwi names either returned or cancelled.
Chairperson Karaitiana Taiuru warns potential cyber squatters that there is no money to be made hijacking Maori names and Iwi names. Iwi and hapu have an exclusive domain name .iwi.nz that is strictly moderated to only allow Iwi and Hapu to register names. For other Maori names, there is the potential to use so many different variations or even other suffixes. It is simply not feasible to try to exploit Maori for web addresses. This will leave the racists who will register racist and derogatory anti Maori names and associate them with Google searches and mock web sites. These people usually breach a New Zealand Law or are happy to remote the site and cancel the domain when approached and questioned.
NZMIS advise Maori and Iwi that if their .nz name has been registered or you believe you have a legal right to use that name i.e. it is your Trademark, then you should contact the Domain Name Commissioner Disputes Resolution free service www.dnc.org.nz or contact NZMIS who are able to act on your behalf.
In 2002, Karaitiana Taiuru, Te Rangikaiwhiria Kemara and Ross Himona identified a Hamilton businessman who had bulk registered a huge amount of Maori and Iwi names in the then recently registered .maori.nz domain, then offered them back for sale at 100’s the original price. An alert reporter from the NZ Herald, Adam Gifford picked up the story and published it in the New Zealand Herald. The result was an apology and the free gifting of the domain names back to Iwi and Maori.
Over the past decade, domain names have been actively monitored and checked for breaches of the law and Terms of Service of registering a domain name. When breaches are found, complaints to the relevant authority have seen the domain name cancelled. Some of the names include sophisticated forged web sites of government departments full of racist slurs and stereotypes.
One cyber squatter from 1996 who partly motivated the .maori.nz application in 2000 is NZ Country Matters Ltd who registered maori.co.nz and is offering it for sale. The introduction of .maori.nz quickly made this domain unimportant.