River In New Zealand Is The First To Be Given Human Legal Status
One wouldn’t immediately associate a river with a person, right? Well, in New Zealand they sure do. The Whanganui River in the island nation was given the same exact legal status as a human being. This river, in particular, located in the north island of New Zealand is of incredible spiritual importance for the Maori people living there.
Recently, the New Zealand Parliament passed a bill in which the Whanganui has the ability to represent itself through others like the Maori community there, known as the Iwi, or another one known as the Crown. This new status is believed to be unique in the world, but the Maori recognise it as being part of the living mountains and the sea.
The man who negotiated the treaty, Chris Finlayson, said that the Whanganui Iwi have been fighting for its recognition ever since the 1870’s.
“Te Awa Tupua will have its own legal identity with all the corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a legal person,” he told Newshub.
“I know some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality, but it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies, or incorporated societies.”
The Whanganui River is the third longest in the country and the new bill will include a $80m financial redress with an additional $30 million from the government that will look after the river’s health and wellbeing.
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