The great River flows from the mountains to the sea
The small and large streams that flow into one another form one River
To Whanganui Iwi, the Whanganui River is viewed as an ancestor and a living being, Te Awa Tupua; an indivisible whole from the mountains to the sea, incorporating its tributaries and all its physical and spiritual elements.
In 2017, this indigenous worldview was recognised at law in New Zealand through the landmark Te Awa Tupua Act, making Te Awa Tupua a legal identity with rights, and acknowledging the relationship of the River with the hapū and Iwi of Whanganui.
This represents the first instance worldwide where a natural resource has been recognised as having its own legal personality and rights. And through the settlement, Te Awa Tupua has its own voice. Rather than speaking about the River as a commodity, people will be required to speak to the River, and view it holistically as a living and indivisible whole.
For more information about Te Awa Tupua and our story click here or to get in touch click here