Mount Taranaki, NZ will be given the same legal rights as a person

Mount Taranaki, NZ will be given the same legal rights as a person

Mount Taranaki, NZ will be given the same legal rights as a person 1920 1080 admin

The ancient giant of New Zealand will soon become the third geographic feature in the country to be granted “legal personality”, along with the Bay of Plenty and Whanganui River. Mount Taranaki is a 120,000-year-old dormant volcano reaching a height of 2,518m, situated on the West Coast of North Island. Due to its’ significance to the local Māori tribes, it will be granted the same legal rights as a person, meaning that if someone abuses it or harms it, it will be equally as consequential as harming the indigenous community itself. Eight Māori tribes will share guardianship with the government, after a series of negotiations long-awaited by the community, who see the sacred mountain as an ancestor and ‘wanahu’ (family member, blood relative). Andrew Little, the NZ Minister for negotiations said that this agreement is the best possible protection for the landmark that was becoming a frequented tourist attraction, especially for climbers, after Lonely Planet named it the second-best place to visit worldwide. Little mentioned that these “agreements are a major milestone in acknowledging the grievances and hurt from the past, as the Taranaki iwi experienced some of the worst examples of Crown behaviour in the 19th century.” The agreement also involves an apology from the government to the Māori peoples for historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi against the mountain, although local tribes will receive no financial redress. Furthermore, the chief negotiator for Taranaki iwi, Jamie Tuuta said in an interview that “It [Mt Taranaki] provides that sense of place, social association and identity.”