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A river in NZ granted the same legal rights as a person
By Lena Reece
Thursday 16/03/2017
The Whanganui River (Photo: Radio NZ).

A river in New Zealand has become the first in the world to be granted the same legal rights as a person.

The New Zealand parliament passed the bill recognising the Whanganui River, in North Island, as a living entity.

Long revered by New Zealand's Maori people, the river's interests will now be represented by two people.

A minister said, the Maori had been fighting for over 160 years to get this recognition for their river.

New Zealand's Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, says that he knows the initial inclination of some people will say it is pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality, but it is no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies.

The Whanganui River, New Zealand's third‑longest, will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes, known as iwi, and one from the Crown.

The recognition allows it to be represented in court proceedings.

Source: BBC