Whanganui River

New Zealand's Whanganui River granted legal status as a person after 170-year battle

The Whanganui River, which flows 145 kilometres from the central North Island to the sea, was given legal personhood by the country's parliament on Wednesday.

The river is a sacred and revered waterway to New Zealand's Maori Iwi people and its interests will now be represented by an Indigenous group.

It will be jointly represented by a member appointed by the Maori community, and one appointed by the government.

The country's Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson said the passing of the Te Awa Tupua Bill was a battle hard fought for.