One of the possibilities for recognizing the interdependence of humans and nature is through values and a framework of ethics. In the case of freshwater in New Zealand, various legal solutions have been proposed to settle Maori interests in water. One solution is the vesting of water as a ‘person’ in law, as in Whanganui and Te Urewera. The proposed sale of a hydroelectric company's state assets triggered a Maori claim to activate recognition of Maori interests in fresh water. The case took the argument that sales cannot proceed until Maori interests are settled.
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More than one third of all land in New Zealand is managed by the Department of Conservation as public conservation land. New Zealand is facing significant challenges in reconciling development proposals in these protected areas. The Department of Conservation manages development proposals in protected areas containing high conservation values using a legislative framework of planning and permitting processes. This process provides robust advice to decision-makers.