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.
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, Internet NZ 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.
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.