Tribal leaders meeting at Waitangi in March signed a pledge for unity - kotahitanga - in their campaign for more autonomy. The driving force was Ngati Whatua leader Paora Tuhaere whose aim was to hold the Government to the terms of the Treaty.
The Herald wrote of its admiration for Tuhaere and other Maori leaders but refused to concede the Treaty had been breached and opposed his ideas for a degree of autonomy. "All that the Maoris as a body can ask is to be treated in the same way, to have the same rights, as the Pakeha," it declared.
But Tuhaere was not put off and the movement he led flourished for some years after his death in 1892. "Such support was an indictment of official dealings with the Maori people in the half-century since the signing of the treaty," writes Claudia Orange in The Treaty of Waitangi.
Although the movement eventually faded away it was an important means of keeping Maori aspirations alive at a time of Pakeha indifference. Paora Tuhaere was an important link in the chain of Maori leadership stretching from the warlike years of the early 1860s to the 21st century and he is our New Zealander of the Year for 1889.
From the Herald archives:
'Maori deserve own voice in Super City', NZ Herald online, 20 April 2009
'Auckland, Conquerors and settlers', NZ Herald online, 24 August 2010
'Auckland: Lament for the lost', NZ Herald online, 25 August 2010
Biography of Paora Tuhaere, Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand