We have been asked on several occasions what the difference is between the .nz and the .kiwi extension. We thought this would be an interesting answer for all customers.
.NZ is the official country code extension (also called Top Level Domain – TLD) of New Zealand and has been introduced in 1987 with .CO.NZ. Each country and independent territory in the world is assigned a two letter country code extension by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA).
Country code extensions like .NZ are managed and regulated by a local authority or organisation called registry. In New Zealand, the organisation responsible for the management of .NZ is InternetNZ with its subsidiaries, the Domain Name Commission (dnc.org.nz) and NZRS (registry.internetnz.nz). In their dedicated functions, they control and administer the .nz domain and distribute the extension to consumers (registrants) via a network of registrars and resellers (like Octopoly).
.Kiwi has been launched at the end of 2013 and is a so called new generic domain extension (new gTLD). Before the launch of new gTLDs, there were only roughly 200 domain extensions in existence. One for every country plus a few generic global extensions like .com, .net, .org, or .info.
In 2011 the highest Internet authority ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), opened up the market for new gTLD applications from independent commercial enterprises.
This laid the foundation for .KIWI, which has been assigned to Dot Kiwi Ltd, a privately owned registry operator, which has successfully applied and filed for the extension. This is one of the main differences between the two extensions. .KIWI is privately owned, while the .NZ and all its sub-extensions (.co.nz, .kiwi.nz, .maori.nz) are owned and operated by the government.
The second-level domain extension .kiwi.nz is a sub-extension of .NZ and under the administration of InternetNZ. Even though it looks very similar to the .kiwi, they are not related.
For Internet users there is technically no difference between .kiwi and .nz domain names. Both can be used for websites or email addresses and function in the same way. Both need to be renewed by their users on a yearly basis in order to keep the rights and ownership of the domain.
It comes all down to personal preference. Some people prefer .nz and others .kiwi. For some projects or websites .kiwi might work better from a marketing point of view and other ideas might work better with .nz.
Which of those two extensions do you prefer and why?