This article argues that concepts of colonial modernity, originally developed for India and East Asia, and attention to micro-mobilities can provide new understandings of the emergence of Indigenous modernity in settler societies. Using previously unexplored sources, it examines a (seemingly small and local) walking tour by three Māori schoolboys in 1892 to ‘save their race from extinction’. An exemplary expression of Māori modernity, this walk is frequently cited as marking the earliest origins of the Young Māori Party, one of the most significant Māori organisations of the early twentieth century. Prior work on this group has been almost entirely confined within New Zealand historiography where it has been the subject of significant critique as a force for assimilation. Connecting this ‘walking tour’ with colonial and Indigenous histories elsewhere provides new ways of conceiving its significance, both locally and in its wider implications, that avoid such tropes. It demonstrates the possibilities of keeping both the local and the global in view, and indeed how this can amplify the importance of local histories.