This River is Now a Person
“The Whanganui River has been given the legal status of a person under a treaty settlement bill that's just been passed by parliament.
It's believed to be a world first.
Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson says Whanganui Iwi has fought for recognition of its relationship with the river since the 1870s.
The iwi recognises the river, Te Awa Tupua, as part of the living mountains and the sea.
"Te Awa Tupua will have its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person," Mr Finlayson said.
"The approach of granting legal personality to a river is unique."
Mr Finlayson said the river would have the ability to represent itself through human representatives, one appointed by the iwi and one by the Crown.”
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