Whanganui River: The New Zealand River that was declared a Legal Person!

In New Zealand, there is a called the Whanganui River.
The river flows at about 180km throughout its river routes. It is also a short river when compared to the bigger ones in the country and the world at large.

The river is the ancestral water of the Maori people, the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand. Therefore, it was totally considered a holy ground by the Maori tribe.
The river is so sacred and holy to this indigenous people that the New Zealand government passed a law, incorporating and declaring the sacred river a legal entity, i.e, a legal person capable of suing and being sued in its own capacity. This declaration was done in 2017.

What does the legal status afford the Whanganui river?

In a layman’s terms, the river was granted the same legal rights and powers that any citizen of New Zealand enjoy themselves. That is, the same powers shared by every human in New Zealand. So, anything a human can do, the river can also do it too.

Therefore, if the river should get polluted or neglected to be taken care of by people, the persons responsible for polluting the river can be charged with assault or if sued by river, the Whanganui river can ask for damages. Mad!

If an individual or group of individuals in any way destroy or harmfully cause the unnatural sudden disruption of the River, the may be charged with murder technically.

Therefore, as a legal person, the river has the right to fight for its own existence and living. What a river!

Crazy, isn’t it?

Photo credits: Google!

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