|Introduced||1987 or 1995|
|TLD type||Country code top-level domain|
|Intended use||Entities connected with New Zealand|
|Actual use||Popular in New Zealand|
|Registered domains||659,555 (March 2016)|
|Registration restrictions||No restrictions under most second-level names; a few are "moderated" meaning that eligibility is checked before registration is granted|
|Structure||Names are registered at third level within generic second-level categories|
|Dispute policies||Dispute and Complaint Process|
Domain Name Commission
.nz is the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for New Zealand. It is administered by InternetNZ through its subsidiary, NZRS Limited, with oversight and dispute resolution handled by the Domain Name Commission Limited (DNCL). Registrations are processed via authorised registrars. As of November 2015 there were 654,031 registered .nz domains.
As with many long-standing domain registries the registry was maintained informally for some time. The first formally recognised administrative organisation was the University of Waikato until the responsibility was delegated to InternetNZ when it was formed in 1995.
Prior to the current structure, the registry operator of .nz was Domainz. Historically, Domainz was a subsidiary of InternetNZ which also operated as a registrar and vendor of other add-on services such as DNS. This combination of a natural monopoly (the registry activities) and vertical integration (the registrar and other services) was seen by some as restricting competition so InternetNZ moved to separate the provision of registry services into a separate organisation with strong oversight. The final part of this transition process was the sale of Domainz to Melbourne IT in August 2003.
From 1 April 2008 the "Office of the Domain Name Commissioner" (several employees of InternetNZ, including the Domain Name Commissioner herself) became the "Domain Name Commission Limited", a subsidiary company of InternetNZ. 
As is the case with most other English-speaking countries apart from the USA, Canada and Republic of Ireland, there are a number of second-level domains that identify whether the user is a company, a non-commercial organisation, government body or other classification.
In October 2013, InternetNZ decided to allow domain names to be registered at the second level in the .nz domain name space, aligning the .nz domain name space with a majority of other top level domains that already allow registrations directly at the second level.
Unlike many other English-speaking countries, New Zealand uses 'govt' instead of 'gov' for government bodies, hence the second-level domain 'govt.nz'. There are also sub-level domains unique to New Zealand, such as 'iwi.nz' and the broader 'maori.nz', for Māori iwi and other organisations respectively, and 'geek.nz' for 'geeks'.
The following second-level domains are in use with their official descriptions. Since only some of the domains are moderated, it is possible to register outside the area intended.
- .nz - first level NZ domain, general use.
- .ac.nz – Tertiary educational institutions and related organisations
- .co.nz – Organisations pursuing commercial aims and purposes
- .geek.nz – For people who are concentrative, technically skilled and imaginative who are generally adept with computers
- .gen.nz – Individuals and other organisations not covered elsewhere
- .kiwi.nz – For people or organisations that associate with being 'Kiwi' (the colloquial term for New Zealanders)
- .maori.nz – Māori people, groups, and organisations
- .net.nz – Organisations and service providers directly related to the NZ Internet
- .org.nz – Not-for-profit organisations
- .school.nz – Primary, secondary and pre-schools and related organisations
- .cri.nz – Crown Research Institutes
- .govt.nz – national, regional and local government organisations operating with statutory powers. The government registrar, DNS.govt.nz controls registration; a government portal operates at www.govt.nz
- .health.nz – health organisations
- .iwi.nz – traditional Māori tribes, hapū, or Taura here groups. Available from register.iwi.nz
- .mil.nz – the military organisation of the NZ Government – the New Zealand Defence Force
- .parliament.nz – reserved for parliamentary agencies, Offices of Parliament, and parliamentary political parties and their elected members
- archie.nz – used for an Archie search engine server operated by the University of Waikato until the mid-1990s.
Registry software and protocol
The .nz registry uses open source software, which is periodically published on SourceForge. The protocol used by this software has non-repudiation built into it using PGP, and unlike ".com" there is no concept of "locking" domains – transferring a domain requires only knowledge of a secret called a UDAI key which business rules dictate is sent to registrants during registration (and must be re-issued on demand at no cost). This prevents Domain hijacking. The protocol was contemporary with EPP, and due to these extra design features is now being ratified as an internet RFC.
Māori domain names
On 22 July 2010, the Domain Name Commission announced that .nz domain names with macron vowels (ā, ē, ī, ō and ū) would be available from the following week to allow Māori language words to be correctly represented in domain names.
- "Welcome | NZRS Limited". Nzrs.net.nz. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- "Welcome | NZRS Limited". nzrs.net.nz. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
- "Review of the Registry/Registrar Structure for the .nz ccTLD (The Hine Report)". 20 October 2000. Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
- "Melbourne IT buys NZ domain incumbent". 21 August 2003. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
- "April 2008 .nz Newsletter" (PDF). 24 April 2008. Retrieved 8 May 2008.
- "New level of Internet domain names" on Scoop.co.nz website, dated 2013-10-11, viewed 2013-10-14
- "InternetNZ approves new second level domain - .kiwi.nz | .nz Domain Name Commission". Dnc.org.nz. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
- "Application for a new 2LD - .kiwi.nz | .nz Domain Name Commission". Dnc.org.nz. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
- "System for Managing a Shared Domain Registry". 26 July 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- ".nz domain names with macrons to launch next week". NZ Domain Name Commission. 22 July 2010. Archived from the original on 25 July 2010. Retrieved 22 July 2010.