A recent posting on an InternetNZ list mailing reminded me of just how far we have come. In March, 1995, I took the minutes of the New Zealand Internet Society of  steering group meeting.

Just so we’re clear on what the Internet was back then, the Web was only just beginning to get traction; typical data rates were 48 kbps; establishments such as universities had rates of up to 256 kbps, the total amount of Internet bandwidth out of the country was (I think) 384 kbps. That’s the same amount as six phone calls. Most traffic was email and file downloads using FTP. Interactive services usually required a terminal session using Telnet. Dial-up Internet was only just becoming available; most services that you could use from home required you to dial into an Internet-connected computer service using a terminal emulator, and running your mail program and FTP downloads from there; if you wanted to download a file to your computer, you used a file transfer program like Zmodem to suck it down from the service provider’s computer after the FTP download had finished.

So the Internet was still a new thing. We were still trying to get to grips with how things should be done. So far, all the officialness required was being done through the Tuia Society, which was simply not equipped to address interests outside the immediate research and education community. It did, to its credit, recognise that this baton needed to be passed onto a more broad-based organisation. The March meeting was to explore the possibility of creating an New Zealand Internet Society, possibly as a chapter of the international Internet Society.

The technology to record this ground breaking meeting? Pen and paper.

Here, then, are the minutes to that meeting:


That 1995 diary documents what was for me something of an annus mirabilis; in particular, NetLink was formed in that year, and by the end of 1995 had expanded into Auckland (picking up the University of Auckland’s Internet operation) and Christchurch, in the process marking the transition of Internet services provision from being something that University computing services departments did to commercial operations.

So you don’t have to decipher my God-awful handwriting, below is the text formatted version that was subsequently sent out.

Internet Society NZ Steering Group Meeting

Held at Victoria University of Wellington on 10 March 1995



Neil James, Otago University (Convener)         neil@otago.ac.nz
Kim Scheinberg, Internet Company of NZ Ltd      kim@iconz.co.nz
Lydia Klimovitch, NZLIA                         Fax (04) 499 1480
Peter Whimp, Industrial Research Ltd            pwhimp@irl.cri.nz
Colin Jackson, IT Policy Unit                   Colin.Jackson@comms.moc.govt.nz
Frank March, Victoria University if Wellington  Frank.March@vuw.ac.nz
Richard Naylor, Wellington City Council         naylor@wcc.govt.nz
Anne Scott, Lincoln University                  a.scott@lincoln.ac.nz
John Vorstermans, Actrix Networks Ltd           john@actrix.gen.nz
Ian Mitchell, New Zealand Computer Society      ianm@iconz.co.nz
John Houlker, University of Waikato             j.houlker@waikato.ac.nz
Don Hollander, TUANZ                            70650.2123@compuserve.com
Don Stokes, Victoria University of Wellington   don@vuw.ac.nz


Phillip Lindsay, AgResearch Ltd                 lindsayp@invermay.cri.nz
Mark Topping, University of Waikato             m.topping@waikato.ac.nz
Jim Higgins, World Communications Laboratory    jhiggins@nzonline.ac.nz

The meeting opened at 10:10.

(3) Purpose of meeting

NJ outlined the history so far.  At present, the Tuia Society is the 
only group purporting to co-ordinate activities on the NZ Internet.  At 
the Tuia AGM late last year, it was accepted that Tuia is not 
representative of NZ Internet users, and that it should concentrate on 
its core sites and another organisation should be formed to properly 
represent the interests of other users.  Furthermore, Tuia is prepared 
to sponsor the formation of this organisation up to $10,000.

The purpose of the meeting is to decide if an NZ Internet Society
(ISOCNZ) is needed, and if so, to formulate a plan to form it.

(4) The Internet Society

JH explained the current Internet Society (ISOC) structure:

                               /    \              
                           IANA      IAB
                          /             \
                 IP registries           IETF
                  /    |    \             /|\        
               NIC  RIPENCC  APNIC   Working Groups

JH went on to explain the situation as it stands with the domain name
system delegations and Internet number assignment.  NZ is currently
served by the Asia/Pacific Network Information Centre (APNIC) for
assignment of Internet numbers.  The APNIC is dependent on donations for
its funding, a situation that cannot continue indefinitely.  Funding
relationships with ISOC are preferred over direct charges to users. 
Name delegation is done by UoW with some delegation to VUW, and some 
preparatory work toward setting up an NZ NIC is being done.

JH suggested that the relationships should be something like:

                  |               |
              technical           |
                  |               |
                  |               |
              technical           |
                  |               |

Placing an NZNIC directly under the NIC would require top level support.
JH also observed that attempts to charge for NIC activities has provoked 
hails of protest from the Internet community.  He also noted that much 
of the resources consumed in running a NIC are in providing advice to 
users rather than actual assignments, and that delegating the consulting 
to providers would greatly reduce the load on an NZNIC.

APNIC expects NZ to provide funding in the vicinity of US$10-20,000.

FM expressed support for the development function of the APNIC, as South 
East Asia is an increasingly important region for NZ.

JH stated that NZGate is not-for-profit and explained the history.  
NZGate started with funding from NASA through the PACCOM consortium 
which funded half of the initial link and sponsors access through the 
NSFnet.  Transit through NSFnet access will cease on 30 April 1995.  

FM said that Tuia is the only major non-commercial group providing 
Internet service, and that it had backed away from increasing its 
membership.  As such, it is not representative of the fastest growing 
sectors, and that some other group needs to take over the network-wide 
functions.  There has been strong resistance from the CRIs toward 
providing funding for Tuia, leaving it with a budget of $12-15,000, 
mostly used for covering air fares.  A surplus is available for funding 
the setup of ISOCNZ.

KS raised the question of whether an ISOCNZ should get involved with
issues of legal liability, such as the import of the alt.sex newsgroups
etc.  JH stated that ISOC has avoided getting involved in such issues,
so ISOCNZ would be departing from established practice.  Rather, ISOC
concerns itself with technical matters.

(5) Reasons for establishment of ISOCNZ

NJ brought the discussion back to the question of whether ISOCNZ is 
necessary, noting that there seemed to be consensus that it is.

(6) Discussion of the form ISOCNZ would take

DH saw three areas ISOCNZ could work in: education, administration and 

JH asked if ISOCNZ should be involved in being a service provider.  RN
felt that management and funding should be provided for the "logical"
level that cannot easily be managed by individual providers.  JH agreed 
that low level service provision should be kept separate.  NJ said 
ISOCNZ has a role in preventing capture of central service.

JH stated that ISOC delegates responsibility but not control of the 
Internet; control being up to individual countries' legal processes.

FM described the Net Society.  The Net Society is an end users group,
set up to incorporate users of all networks, not just the Internet,
hence the name, but note that the name Internet Society of NZ was very
nearly chosen for that group.  The group is influenced by the Electronic
Frontier Foundation and other similar groups.  CJ noted that the Net
Society was largely formed in response to Trever Rogers' Technology and
Crimes Reform bill, and was more concerned with content of the net than
infrastructure.  FM pointed out that the only group concerned with
infrastructure is Tuia.

NJ asked that the group enunciate the possible objectives of ISOCNZ.  
RN suggested that NJ's paper be used as a guide.  

There was some discussion about funding and structure.  JH suggested
ISOCNZ should become a legal entity and support an NZNIC, noting that
setting up both organisations as separate legal entities would incur 
significant costs.  JH also suggested ISOCNZ should be funded by 
membership fees.

RN drew a functional diagram of the WCC as a guide:

         |                 |               |                |
      Planning        Governance        Services        Monitoring

JH compared ISOC with the ITU, noting that ITU's governance is based on 
treaties between governments.  

NJ quoted the purpose from the ISOCNZ paper, and added that ISOCNZ would 
not have a role in running the NZ backbone.  DH suggested that the word 
"communicate" should be inserted into the line containing 'co-operate 
and innovate'.  CJ said that ISOCNZ should set an environment for 
providing services.

        The Purpose

        The purpose of NZISOC will be:  To maintain and extend the
        availability of the Internet in New Zealand and its associated
        technologies and applications, both as an end in itself, and as
        means of enabling organisations, professionals and individuals
        to more effectively collaborate, cooperate, communicate and
        innovate in their respective fields of interest. Following the
        goals and purpose for ISOC the specific goals and purpose for
        NZISOC could be:

NJ lead the discussion through the stated goals and purposes.

Under (a), FM suggested that there may be NZ standards worth promoting 
within NZ:

        (a) development, maintenance, evolution, and dissemination
            of standards for the Internet and its inter-networking
            technologies and applications;

Under (b), IM noted that "administrative" includes the activities of an 
NZNIC.  NJ said that ISOCNZ should claim control of NZ namespace for 
administration by NZNIC.  JH suggested that ISOCNZ could act as an 
arbitrator in disputes involving NZNIC activities before such disputes 
went to court.  LK suggested that ISOCNZ should not limit itself too 
much in its scope. 

        (b) maintenance and evolution of effective administrative
            processes necessary for operation of the New Zealand Internet;

(c) passed without further discussion.  NJ suggested that (d) should add 
"including but not limited to IP and DNS":

        (c) education and research related to the Internet and

        (d) harmonization of actions and activities at national levels to
            facilitate the development and availability of the Internet
            including but not limited to IP and DNS;

(e) and (f) also pass without further discussion.  RN noted that there 
was not mention of ISOCNZ's position internationally.  FM asked if 
ISOCNZ should select representatives to international forums.  

        (e) collection and dissemination of information related to the
            Internet and inter-networking, including histories and

        (f) liaison with other organizations, New Zealand Government
            authorities, and the general public for coordination,
            collaboration, and education in effecting the above purposes.

IM said there should be an expression of the relationship with ISOC.  RN 
suggested adding:

        (g) to co-operate with the international Internet community and
            to seek a formal relationship with ISOC.

FM and IM added:

        (h) to represent the common interests of wider NZ Internet 

CJ suggested that there should be a clause stating that common resources 
must be uncapturable.

NJ asked what form the entity should take.  RN compared DECUS, where 
DECUS NZ is not a legal entity but is a chapter of the US-based 

IM asked how long it would take to get ISOCNZ underway.  NJ asked if 
ISOCNZ should be an incorporated society.  FM asked it ISOCNZ was 
intending to be not for profit.  LK pointed out that incorporated 
societies can have considerable income and resources.

The meeting broke for lunch at 12:30 and re-convened at 13:15.

(7) Discussion of procedures for the establishment of ISOCNZ

NJ noted that the consensus appeared to be that ISOCNZ would start as an 
un-incorporated society, and aim to become an incorporated society as 
soon as possible.

DS observed that the NZNIC portion must get underway very soon as there 
are pressing issues that need to be resolved.  JH pointed out that one 
case involving domain naming is already before the courts.

NJ asked what members would get.  FM stated that ISOCNZ must decide for 
itself how it will levy fees.  This meeting must decide how it is to 
proceed with setting up ISOCNZ.

RN drew another diagram:

                             | Establish |
                             |  ISOCNZ   |
   |               |               |               |                |
 Plan            Admin           "Get"           "Put"           Measure
                 |               |               |
                 |- Financial/   |- Money        |- NZNIC
                 |  Legal        |               |
                 |               |- Members
                 |- Constitution |
                 |- Committee/
                 |  Board

FM suggested setting the Steering Group up as an interim executive, and 
move in three steps:

        1  Set up ISOCNZ and announce its presence
        2  Set up interim arrangements to develop a constitution
        3  Call for membership and officers

(10) Membership of ISOCNZ steering group

NJ agreed that the Steering Group is the right group to continue the 
process.  RN pointed out that the constitution developed by the Steering 
Group can only be a draft before being ratified by members.

FM suggested a need to set up an open mailing list and newsgroup for 
ISOCNZ.  CJ stated that an internal executive list is also needed.  

(9) Election of interim convener of ISOCNZ steering group

NJ called for nominations for a convener.  IM nominated NJ, seconded KS. 
NJ accepted.

NJ expressed concern that ISOCNZ would be viewed as a clique.  RN 
suggested that it needs to be framed as an interim group.  

(11) Assignment of tasks and (8) Timetable for establishment

RN listed the tasks that need to done to get ISOCNZ:

        Press release
        ACTION: FM              BY: 15/3/1995

        Draft constitution, 1st draft
        ACTION: NJ CJ FM        BY: 31/3/1995

        Draft constitution, final draft 
        ACTION: NJ CJ FM        BY: 31/4/1995

FM said Liz McLaine at the National Library has offered the Nat Lib 
auditorium for an inaugural meeting.

IM pointed out that ISOCNZ will need a secretariat to answer inquiries 
as soon as ISOCNZ is announced.  This includes subscription to email 
lists, fax, and human on the phone, eg an 800 number.  Secretariat 

        800 number (eg 0800-476-261 -- 0800-ISOCNZ)
        ACTION: IM              BY: 15/3/1995

        WWW Page server
        ACTION: JH              BY: 15/3/1995

        WWW Page content
        ACTION: JV              BY: 15/3/1995

        ACTION: IM              BY: 15/3/1995

        Paper mail via NZCS office
        PO Box 10044 The Terrace
        ACTION: IM              BY: 15/3/1995

        Domain name isocnz.org.nz
        ACTION: JH              BY: 15/3/1995

Incorporation and bank accounts also need to be actioned.  Costs will be 
picked up by Tuia, administration through the NZCS office.

        Incorporation & bank account administration
        ACTION: IM              BY: ongoing

The meeting closed at 14:30.

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