Whanganui River to gain legal personhood

17 March 2017

In a world first, a New Zealand river will be recognised as a person.

The Whanganui River Claims Settlement Bill was passed today, giving the Whanganui River the same status as a legal person.

In Whanganui they have a saying: "Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au» — which translates into English as, «I am the river and the river is me".

The river will now be the first in the world to have such a status — but for the iwi of the river, it recognises something they say they have always known.

Te Tai Hauāuru MP Adrian Rurawhe said some people might find the concept strange but it was completely normal for Māori.

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Photo: open sources

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