The Wild Podcast
The Wild Podcast
Sep 30, 2020
#42 Jonathan Carson - The River that Became a Legal Person
Play • 31 min

The Whanganui River in New Zealand is the first river in the world to be granted the status of a legal person. But what does that really mean?

In this episode, Andy talks with Jonny about the short documentary he produced on the Whanganui River, called Ko Au Te Awa (I Am The River).

The film explores the concept of legal personhood from a Māori worldview.

When the legislation passed in 2017 there was a lot of confusion around how a river could be seen as a living entity.

In this conversation, we talk about how legal personhood isn't a Māori concept at all, the 150-year struggle by iwi to have their relationship to the river recognised at law, and what this potentially means for the health and conservation of the river going forward.


Watch the documentary Ko Au Te Awa here.

Follow Jonathan on Instagram.


If you like what we do, please consider supporting the podcast on Patreon.

We've set it up so you can choose from:
1. The cost of staying in a backcountry hut in New Zealand
2. The cost of staying in a serviced hut

We thought that was cool because our goal with every episode is to transport you from wherever you are into the outdoors.

Your support helps us to cover our costs and keep bringing you stories of explorers, adventure, and the great outdoors.

You can also support the show by leaving a five-star rating and/or a short review on iTunes.

Thanks heaps,

-- Andy & Jonny

The Wild Podcast is produced by The Content Lab, content marketing, copywriting, and brand storytelling services for New Zealand businesses that want to build audiences and authority online. Visit

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu