(1) In June 2003, the Court of Appeal held in Attorney-General v Ngāti Apa  3 NZLR 643 that the Māori Land Court had jurisdiction to determine claims of customary ownership to areas of the foreshore and seabed. The Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 (the 2004 Act) was enacted partly in response to the Court of Appeal¿s decision:
(2) In its Report on the Crown¿s Foreshore and Seabed Policy (Wai 1071), the Waitangi Tribunal found the policy underpinning the 2004 Act in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi. The Tribunal raised questions as to whether the policy complied with the rule of law and the principles of fairness and non-discrimination against a particular group of people. Criticism was voiced against the discriminatory effect of the 2004 Act on whānau, hapū, and iwi by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the United Nations Special Rapporteur:
(3) In 2009, a Ministerial Review Panel was set up to provide independent advice on the 2004 Act. It, too, viewed the Act as severely discriminatory against whānau, hapū, and iwi. The Panel proposed the repeal of the 2004 Act and engagement with Māori and the public about their interests in the foreshore and seabed, recommending that new legislation be enacted to reflect the Treaty of Waitangi and to recognise and provide for the interests of whānau, hapū, and iwi and for public interests in the foreshore and seabed:
(4) This Act takes account of the intrinsic, inherited rights of iwi, hapū, and whānau, derived in accordance with tikanga and based on their connection with the foreshore and seabed and on the principle of manaakitanga. It translates those inherited rights into legal rights and interests that are inalienable, enduring, and able to be exercised so as to sustain all the people of New Zealand and the coastal marine environment for future generations.
Inter alia, the Act acknowledges the importance of the marine and coastal area to all New Zealanders and the customary interests of iwi, hapū, and whānau in that area. It also repeals the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 and restores any customary interest extinguished by that Act.