National | Aotea

Bill recognises Whanganui River as a living and indivisible entity

Tears were shed at the final reading and passing of a bill in Parliament today that legally recognises the Whanganui River as a living and indivisible entity with its own rights and innate values.

The Te Awa Tupua Bill will give effect to the Deed of Settlement signed in 2014 to establish a new legal framework for the river, Te Pā Auroa nā Te Awa Tupua along with a set of new protocols.

The bill also recognises the inalienable relationship of all river iwi and hapū with Te Awa Tupua and the shared responsibility to work collaboratively for the common purpose of the health and well-being of the river, with the help of government funding.

An emotional speech was delivered by Te Tai Hauauru MP Adrian Rurawhe who congratulated Whanganui for shifting the paradigm of a flawed treaty settlement process to be predetermined by traditions of Whanganui.