Maori Culture, Whanganui River and New Zealand: What is Happening?

Image result for Maori Culture, Whanganui River and New Zealand: What is Happening?For the first time in the world, a very well developed country in the international political arena grants personal and legal rights to a river, which is normally accepted as a geographical formation and an abiotic entity. How did this happen? Why was there was a necessity of granting the same personal and legal rights of a citizen to a river? Which conflict is resolved with this grant? We have gathered all the answers to these questions and we have updated the pre-existing information on this topic below.

New Zealand: Recognizing a River As a Living Entity

New Zealand is a country known for her natural beauties, diverse ecosystem, developed and trustworthy legal system and friendly people from diverse cultures. Therefore, New Zealand puts a special emphasis on her natural resources and conservation of the environment. Maori culture stands as a unique example of the diversity of cultures in New Zealand. All Maori clans have their distinct practices in daily life although they are united under the grand belief that they are not here to manage or dominate the nature, rather they are a humble part of nature and universe overall. For Maori clans, all rivers, mountains, trees and natural beings have their own soul and importance. Due to this mentality, all living beings on Earth need to live together in a harmony at equal standards.

Maori Clans Fight for Legal Rights of a River in New Zealand

After the difficult negotiation process of 140 years, Maori tribes became successful in gaining the legal rights of a person for Whanganui River in the North Island. Whanganui iwi tribe has stated that Whanganui River is an indivisible and living being from the mountains to the sea. With Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Bill, New Zealand became the first country ever to grant legal rights of a person to a river.

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