“In a world first, a New Zealand river will be recognised as a person.
“The Whanganui River [Te Awa Tupua] Claims Settlement Bill was passed today, giving the Whanganui River the same status as a legal person.
“Te Urewera, the former national park, was granted the same status when Tūhoe settled with the Crown in 2014.
“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.
“The river as a whole is absolutely important to the people who are from the river and live on the river.
“I’ll repeat something that [MP] Chester Burrows said in [Parliament] today – it’s not that we’ve changed our world view but people are catching up to seeing things how we see it.”
Read the full story by Shannon Haunui-Thompson….