New Zealand grants personhood to a forest

Te Urewera National Park
Te Urewera is the first forest in the world with legal rights

Global interest spiked this week in an Act of the New Zealand parliament granting personhood to the Te Urewera National Park.

The actual wording of the act is that “Te Urewera is a legal entity and has the same legal rights, powers, duties and responsibilities as a person.” This means that legal action can be taken on its behalf.

The Act was introduced two years ago and a similar one is now planned for the Whanganui River.

The former Minister of Maori Affairs, Pita Sharples said, “This is a profound alternative to the presumption of human sovereignty over the natural world.”

Ecuador, Bolivia and India are drafting similar legislation.

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