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F.A.Q. for Domain Names with macrons (IDNs)

What is a domain name?

What is a macron?

What is WHOIS?

Who is my registrar?

What is the usual way to register a domain name?

Why are we doing this?

When I type my new domain name into the browser or email address bar, it changes to one starting with xn-- What’s that all about?

What is Unicode?

What is Punycode?

My name appears to be too long to be registered. Why?

What does it cost to have a domain name with a macron?

What was the Sunrise Period?

Why was there a Sunrise Period?

How long did the Sunrise Period last for?

When are domain names with macrons available to everyone?

Can I have more than one name with macrons in it?

How many options should I register?

Does the word I create using the macrons have to make sense?

Where can I find a Māori dictionary?

Where can I download a Māori keyboard?

How do I enter a macron into the address line of my browser?

Who is allowed to have a domain name using macrons?

What is a domain name?

A domain name is a name you can use to define your unique presence on the Internet - for example internetnz.net.nz. In the same way that your street address enables anyone in the world to send a letter to your house, your domain name is a way in which people can find your website or your email box. Computers communicate using numbers to find each other, called IP numbers. Numbers aren’t easy or natural for us to remember so the Internet uses domain names to make them memorable.

What is a macron?

A macron is used in written Māori language to show that the vowel sound in a word will be lengthened when it is pronounced. Words with and without macrons but otherwise spelled the same can have two different meanings.

What is WHOIS?

The term WHOIS commonly refers to an electronic facility to query the details of a specific domain name in the .nz register. Also known as the registry record, the WHOIS information includes contact details for the registrant and the registrar, and for the administrative and technical contacts. The WHOIS also includes details of the nameservers assigned to the domain name, and records the status of the domain name.

Who is my registrar?

Your registrar is the organisation you have chosen to manage your domain name on your behalf. If you have a .nz domain name, your registrar, and their contact details will show on the WHOIS record for your name. To find out which registrar you are using, enter your domain name into the domain search box on the top left-hand corner of our webpage at www.dnc.org.nz, select the correct suffix from the drop-down box, and press "GO". The registration record for your name will display, and it will include contact details for your registrar.

What is the usual way to register a domain name?

You should contact a .nz authorised registrar to register any domain name. They will need to arrange payment with you, and you will need to accept the terms and conditions for registration. Each registrar offers a variety of services and pricing packages - you should choose the registrar whose services will best meet your needs. A full list of .nz authorised registrars is available at www.dnc.org.nz/registrars.

Why are we offering IDNs in .nz?

IDNs are an issue for .nz given the five macrons in the Māori language, and the desire to enable the use of them in .nz domain names. Macrons cannot be introduced without implementing IDNs. IDNs use the twenty-six letters of the Latin alphabet (a-z), the ten digits (0-9) and the hyphen (-) in a specially encoded format that permits the representation of a larger selection of characters from many scripts. In .nz, only the characters ā, ē, ī, ō and ū will be encoded.

When I type my new domain name into the browser address bar, or an email, it changes to one starting with xn-- What’s that all about?

Computers use domain names to find each other on the Internet. The domain name is a code for the IP number of the computer. The xn-- code is simply a code for a domain name that includes characters that are not easy for the computer to recognise. So, for the domain names that .nz is introducing in July 2010, behind the scenes, the computers will be looking for specific codes to translate the new characters (ā, ē, ī, ō and ū) into IP numbers. Some browsers or email programmes will show the name with the macrons in the address bar, others show the xn-- names.

What is Unicode?

Unicode is the name that has been given to the extended character sets that can be used in domain names. In .nz domain names, only the characters ā, ē, ī, ō and ū will be added to the standard character set.

What is Punycode?

Punycode is the name given to the computer-readable names for the expanded character set. The xn-- names are coded in Punycode. Ask your technical advisors for more information about Punycode.

My name appears to be too long to be registered. Why?

When the domain name with macrons is converted into punycode, each character used in the representation of the macrons is counted as a character in the domain name. The more vowels with macrons in your domain name, the more characters will be used to represent that name behind the scenes. There is an upper limit of 63 characters in each section of a domain name. Each macron character could potentially add up to 9 characters to the punycode for the domain name.

What does it cost to have a domain name with a macron?

.nz domain names with macrons are registered through your .nz authorised registrar in the same way that all other .nz domain names are. It is for your registrar to set the price for the services that they offer. Each registrar offers a variety of services and pricing packages, and you should choose the one that best meets your needs.

What was the Sunrise Period?

The .nz IDN Sunrise Period was in place to allow us to phase in the new .nz domain names in a way that was fair to the holders of existing .nz domain names. During the Sunrise Period, only current .nz registrants could apply for .nz domain names with macrons that were otherwise identical to the existing name. So, for example, InternetNZ who are the registrant for the name internetnz.net.nz could apply to become the registrant for īntērnetnz.net.nz - all aspects of the name are the same, apart from the macrons on two of the vowels. During the Sunrise Period, only InternetNZ could apply for this name. After the launch date, any eligible registrant can choose a name, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Why was there a Sunrise Period?

We put the Sunrise Period in place to reduce the number of instances where disputes may have arisen over the registration of the new names. As each registrant has the chance to register their existing name when no-one else can have it, there should be few instances where the new name is registered to an organisation which has a dispute with the current registrant of the existing name.

How long did the Sunrise Period last for?

The Sunrise Period began on 6 April 2010 and concluded on 6 July 2010.

When are domain names with macrons available to everyone?

.nz domain names with macrons are now available to all eligible registrants since the launch date of 26 July 2010. From that date, domain names with macrons are available to anyone, whether the equivalent name without macrons has already been registered or not.

Can I have more than one name with macrons in it?

Yes - .nz does not restrict the number of names available to each registrant, and .nz domain names with macrons fall under the same policies as all other .nz domain names.

How many options should I register?

That’s entirely up to you. Each name registered will incur the usual fee charged by the registrar, so you should base your decision about the number of variants you wish to apply for by considering the costs and benefits to your organisation of each new registration.

Does the word I create using the macrons have to make sense?

No. Just as any domain name could previously include any combination of letters and numbers, so can the name including the macrons. There is no requirement for the new domain name to be linguistically correct.

Where can I find a Māori dictionary?

Māori dictionaries are available in hard copy form, or online. Try http://www.learningmedia.co.nz/ngata or search the internet for alternate publications.

Where can I download a Māori keyboard?

Typing the macrons in a document requires additional software over and above that installed as default on many computers. The type of software that you need depends on the sort of operating system that you run. A range of software options for downloading the Māori keyboard are available at http://www.stat.auckland.ac.nz/~kimihia/maori-keyboard - you should choose the keyboard option that best suits your needs. Seek help from your usual desktop support person if you require further assistance.

How do I enter a macron into the address line of my browser?

Use the shortcuts recommended by your keyboard provider to insert the letters into your browser address bar.

A free keyboard is able to be downloaded from the Māori Language Commission site at http://www.tetaurawhiri.govt.nz/english/resources_e/download/keyboard.shtml. If you use a Windows operating system, before typing the vowel, press the key (next to the letter P). The macron should then appear over the vowel.

Who is allowed to have a domain name using macrons?

Any eligible registrant for a .nz domain name can have a .nz domain name with macrons. All identifiable individuals over the age of 18 years, or properly constituted organisations can be a registrant for a .nz domain name.