News of an astonishing agreement that recognises the status of a river in New Zealand as Te Awa Tupua, i.e. “an integrated, living whole”. New Zealand’s Minister for Treaty for Waitangi Negotiations, Christopher Finlayson stated:
Under the settlement, the river is regarded as a protected entity, under an arrangement in which representatives from both the iwi and the national government will serve as legal custodians towards the Whanganui’s best interests.
Whanganui iwi also recognise the value others place on the river and wanted to ensure that all stakeholders and the river community as a whole are actively engaged in developing the long-term future of the river and ensuring its wellbeing.