Read this remarkable National Geographic story of how a NZ river essential to Maori life and identity attained legal personhood.
The Whanganui River in New Zealand is a legal person. A nearby forest is too. Soon, the government will grant a mountain legal personhood as well. Here's how it happened, and what it may mean.
Law student Te Wainuiarua Poa is a Whanganui Maori for whom the words: “I am the river, the river is me” is a life-defining reality. Around her neck she wears a pendant shaped from the volcanic rock of the Tongariro mountains—a token from the source of her ancestral river. Upholding the river’s mana, or prestige, she says, “is a never-ending journey.”