New Zealand river first in world to become a 'person'

  • 16 March 2017
The Whanganui River in New Zealand Image copyright Getty Images

The Whanganui River in New Zealand is the first in the world to be classed as a 'person' - confused?

Well the river will have all the same legal rights as a 'person' - still confused?

Well it basically means that the Whanganui River can be represented in court. It also has rights and values like we do.

It's after a tribe called the Maori people campaigned for 160 years to get the river recognised.

Image copyright Getty Images

The river, known by Maori as Te Awa Tupua, is the third longest in New Zealand.

The Maori people live off the Whanganui River and according to them they have a very special spiritual connection to it.

"The river as a whole is absolutely important to the people who are from the river and live on the river," said MP Adrian Rurawhe, who represents the Maori.

"From a Whanganui viewpoint the wellbeing of the river is directly linked to the wellbeing of the people and so it is really important that's recognised as its own identity."

As a result of the court case money has been awarded to keep the river healthier which it's hoped will give people living on and along it a better quality of life.

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