Isaac Davison: A First -- A River is Given Legal Status

New Zealand Herald:

Whanganui River

Whanganui River

Whanganui River now has the legal status of a person under a unique Treaty settlement passed into law today. The settlement means the river, the third-longest in the country, has all the rights, duties and liabilities that come with personhood.

Among other things, the river could now be represented in court proceedings, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson said. “I know the initial inclination of 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.”