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River in New Zealand Now Has The Same Legal Rights as a Human Being

Source: The Guardian/ Eleanor Ainge Roy - March 20, 2017 in Featured, Politics

River in New Zealand Now Has The Same Legal Rights as a Human Being
Photo: Evan Goldenberg/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In a world-first a New Zealand river has been granted the same legal rights as a human being.

The local Māori tribe of Whanganui in the North Island has fought for the recognition of their river – the third-largest in New Zealand – as an ancestor for 140 years.

On Wednesday, hundreds of tribal representatives wept with joy when their bid to have their kin awarded legal status as a living entity was passed into law.

“The reason we have taken this approach is because we consider the river an ancestor and always have,” said Gerrard Albert, the lead negotiator for the Whanganui iwi [tribe].

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