Â©Tamara Voninski. Policemen gather near a church where New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark was meeting with Maori elders to discuss proposed changes to legislation regarding Maori rights regarding the coastline and seabed in New Zealand. Protesters later heckled the Prime Minister for turning her back on the Maori people and the original Treaty of Waitangi. In 2005, the New Zealand government passed the controversial Seabed and Foreshore legislation to prevent Maori from claiming exclusive ownership of New Zealand2019s resource rich coastline and seabed. The Maori traditionally see themselves as caretakers of the land and coastline. The Maori population is approximately 530,000 of four million New Zealanders.