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An epic legal battle in New Zealand has finally come to an end with a rather unique conclusion as a revered river was recognized as having the same rights as a person.
Since the 1870’s, the Whanganui River has been at the center of a dispute between the government of New Zealand and the native Maori people who believe that the river has a direct connection to their well being.
Lawmakers finally relented to this line of thinking by passing legislation which awarded the river all of the benefits of personhood afforded to any other New Zealander.
The declaration serves to protect the river by allowing it to be represented in court as if it were an actual person.
Since the river cannot speak for itself, a pair of proverbial guardians, one from the government and the other a Maori tribe member, will be tasked with the duty.
Although the official who brokered the treaty conceded that the outcome may seem strange to some, he likened it to how legal rights are possessed by corporations and other organized entities.
Along with the privileges that come from personhood, the river also ostensibly accepts the responsibilities of the status, although good luck trying to get it to show up for jury duty.
Source: NZ Herald