For the first time millions of New Zealanders will have access to new email addresses and websites ending in .kiwi rather than .co.nz, .kiwi.nz or other similar .nz formats following international regulatory approval from Los Angeles over the weekend.
.kiwi is the first New Zealand-based generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) approved by ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) in its new gTLD programme, which ushers in a host of new domains such as .london and .microsoft.
Tim Johnson, DOT KIWI CEO says to be able to bring this next stage of the Internet into reality right here in New Zealand is huge.
"It provides an answer for the notable lack of choice for names in the somewhat isolated New Zealand domain name market.
"We've seen the Internet evolve from a place for sharing mostly official or academic information to one that is the cornerstone for connection and communication around the world. Kiwis the world over will be able to choose email addresses and websites ending in .kiwi which we believe has great appeal."
New Zealand's new domain name is expected to be available for individuals and organisations to purchase as early as mid-August for trademark holders and October/November for the general public. Interest can be registered at www.dot-kiwi.com .
September will mark the beginning of what is known as a "Sunrise” period, in which trademark owners can register their marks as .kiwi domain names – before the general public gets an opportunity to. Sunrise is a tool to protect brands, help avoid cybersquatting and increase consumer security on the Internet in New Zealand. Trademark holders are advised to contact their IP lawyers regarding the Sunrise period.
DOT KIWI has set up a trust to give back to New Zealand by establishing a fund from a percentage of the sale of .kiwi domains to benefit the Christchurch rebuild.
Tim Johnson says the earthquakes that shook Christchurch in 2011 resonated with New Zealanders far and wide.
"We see a unique opportunity to provide ongoing financial support for the rebuilding of Christchurch – one of New Zealand's most beautiful cities and my hometown."
Approximately ten per cent of revenue from the sale of .kiwi domains will be donated to the DOT KIWI Christchurch Trust, which is being formed to receive, administer and distribute funds to Christchurch as they are earned and donated.
.kiwi will offer New Zealand organisations and individuals greater choice, branding creativity and the opportunity to differentiate themselves from competitors.