IHE DELFT x Lumen: I Am the River, The River is Me + nagesprek (+English subtitles / Expat Cinema)

Wednesday 29 May 18.30 + discussion afterwards

Special screening organised with IHE Delft, Institute for Water Education. The film will be followed with a discussion (in English). The film will be screened with English subtitles.

Māori tribal leader Ned Tapa takes a group of friends and family on a breathtaking canoe trip down the Whanganui River in Aotearoa, as the Māori call New Zealand. The Whanganui is the first river to be recognized as a legal person. Together, this diverse group of people embraces the spirit of the river and tries to find what is needed to save the planet.

Alle Leeftijden

Koop nu een kaartje

wo 29 mei
Zaal 118.30

The Whanganui River in Aotearoa/New Zealand is the first river in the world to be recognized by law as a legal person, and as a living and indivisible being. The Māori fought for these rights for over 150 years. Māori river guardian Ned Tapa takes a group of friends, family and activists on a 5-day canoe trip down this sacred river. Joining them are a First Nations Elder from Australia and his daughter, who are activists dedicated to save their own dying river back home, an Australian artist and an international film crew.

Everyone in the group – including the film crew – has a voice and becomes a character in this film. The river organically unites them in their goal to bring about a fundamental shift in values, to protect our planet for future generations. The Whanganui River sparked a global ‘rights of nature’ movement and is the iconic main character of the film. Filled with beautiful meditative images of the breathtaking nature. ‘If you sit and listen, you’ll hear the country singing,’ Ned Tapa says. ‘All together, intertwined, in harmony, in sync.’


After the movie, a panel of IHE Delft staff and students will share their experiences and research on rivers’ stewardship and rivers’ representation in different parts of the world, reflecting on how the idea of rights of nature can help us to rethink our relationship with water. The panellists are Margreet Zwarteveen, Kelsey Wentling and Michelle Kooy, the moderator is Emanuele Fantini, senior Lecturer/Researcher in Water Politics and Communication.

Margreet Zwarteveen
Margreet Zwarteveen is an irrigation engineer and social scientist, who joined IHE Delft in 2014 to become its professor of Water Governance, within the Water Governance Department. Her professorial affiliation is with the Governance and Inclusive Development Group at the UvA.

Kelsey Wentling
Kelsey is from the U.S. where she completed her Master’s in Environmental Science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, researching the science-policy pathways in transboundary river basin organizations. Following the completion of her Master’s degree, Kelsey worked for several years as a River Steward at the Connecticut River Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and restoring New England’s largest river. In this role Kelsey acted at the primary advocate for the river in Massachusetts, established community engagement initiatives, and led or supported citizen science programs to both engage community members in restoration efforts, and to enhance the information available to natural resource managers.

Michelle Kooy
Michelle Kooy is a social scientist (Human Geographer) and former development practitioner, who joined IHE Delft in 2012. As of 2017 she is an Associate Professor of Water & Uneven Urbanization. She is affiliated with the Governance and Inclusive Development Group at the University of Amsterdam.