Wellington lawyer Peter Dengate Thrush might seem an unlikely choice to head an international internet governance body.
New Zealand, after all, is hardly a cyberspace superpower - we have yet to produce a Google, Amazon or MySpace.
Nor could Dengate Thrush claim the same kind of name recognition as the former chairman of the internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), Vint Cerf.
Cerf, an American engineer, is commonly referred to as the "father" of the internet for his work in designing TCP/IP, the networking protocol that allows us to email and surf the web to our hearts' content (bandwidth permitting).
Yet Dengate Thrush has his own impressive credentials for his new job at the international body that manages internet addresses.
For those immersed in internet rule-setting, his election in November would have been no great surprise; and that he was voted in unanimously only goes to show the esteem in which he is held.
The choice signals the maturity of ICANN, which will be 10 years old next year, Cerf said.
"ICANN has moved from a foundation state to a steady state. Peter understands that and the board's role and is a great choice to keep the organisation strong and focused."
So how did a New Zealand patent attorney and trial lawyer with a BSc in zoology and geology end up heading the body sometimes described as the UN of cyberspace?
Part of the answer is his willingness to spend a great deal of time flying to meetings in distant parts of the world - he has attended internet governance sessions in 35 cities in 30 countries and, when interviewed by the Herald, was freshly off a plane from Washington DC, having a few weeks earlier been in Frankfurt, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro.
His appetite for getting involved is another part of the explanation - since he was a student at Victoria University in the 1970s, Dengate Thrush has been an active member of numerous student, sporting and professional bodies.
Combined, those tendencies mean he had a hand in writing the rules of the information superhighway even before ICANN's inception.
For all that, the law, and his specialisation in intellectual property matters, wasn't his first career choice.
After graduating with a BSc at 21, he spent a season as an exploration geologist in the Nelson district. But he soon saw the toll working in isolated places took on personal lives.
"It was exciting jumping out of helicopters, mapping streams and sleeping in tents on tops of mountains but I realised even at that relatively young age that it wasn't much of a long-term life."
His law degree and IP law specialisation were someone else's suggestion.
"My wife - she was my fiance at the time - and I were the foundation staff at Wellington's first nightclub, a place called Spats, and one night some law student colleagues came in. I inquired as I was serving them what they were celebrating and they said one of their number had just passed the final exams to be a patent attorney."
With intellectual property papers not yet part of a law degree, Dengate Thrush had to ask for an explanation of what patent attorneys do.
"One of the chaps then said, 'You'd be good at it because you've got a science degree'."
Intrigued, he investigated what was involved, and contacted a number of law firms.
"The first firm I rang employed me."
The firm was Baldwin Son & Carey (now Baldwins), where he spent three years qualifying as a patent attorney, and remained as a partner until 1995.
That year Dengate Thrush went out on his own, specialising in intellectual and industrial property, information technology, internet and competition cases.
His first brush with cyberspace issues came that year, when the fledgling internet Society of New Zealand (now internetNZ) invited him to address it on potential clashes between trademarks and domain names.
At that stage there were about 500 .nz websites, versus 300,000 or so today, and a Waikato University staff member, John Houlker, was maintaining the domain name registry. However, it was apparent things needed to be put on a more businesslike footing.
"I became the society's first honorary counsel," Dengate Thrush says. One of his first pieces of advice was that a separate for-profit company be set up to manage New Zealand's country code registry.
While New Zealand was feeling its way on how best to manage the local internet, the international community was doing the same, and Dengate Thrush soon found himself involved at a global level.
He had input into the body that eventually became ICANN, and attended its first meeting in early 1999 in Singapore.
He immediately found himself on an ICANN committee and in 2004 was elected to the board.
That he should have risen to the position of ICANN chairman is, he reckons, partly down to the soundness of the original advice he gave New Zealand's internet pioneers.
The registry company, Domainz, meanwhile, was turning a profit and financing Dengate Thrush and others' travel to international meetings.
His elevation to the role at the Los Angeles-based ICANN, which has a US$50 million ($63 million) budget and 100 staff, would have been a source of pride for his late wife of 27 years. The role is the fruit of not just his efforts, Dengate Thrush says, but hers too.