ABSTRACT. For academics inhabiting contemporary universities, it is impossible to escape the influence of neoliberal ideas. Neoliberalism, in its different forms, has left an indelible mark on the tertiary education landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand and many other countries of the Western world. It has introduced new systems of governance and accountability, changed the language of institutional life, altered the way knowledge is conceived and conveyed, and fostered new modes of individualistic and competitive activity. This tide of change might seem overwhelming, but that, if anything, should sharpen our sense of the need for alternatives. In considering other paths that might be followed in tertiary education, creative intellectual partner- ships between what at first seem quite distinct philosophical traditions can be helpful. In this paper, we combine insights from Taoism on the one hand and indigenous Māori philosophy on the other in contesting the dominant approach to tertiary education. Taoist and Māori traditions of thought have deep histories, woven across many generations of lived cultural practice. While differing in some notable respects from each other, these two bodies of work also share some key features in common. They emphasise a more holistic approach to knowledge and education; they encourage us to go beyond the logic of performativity, competition and economic advancement in tertiary education policy; and they prompt us to reconsider the fundamental ontological assumptions underpinning neoliberalism. In these respects and others, they are worthy of further consideration by those who have a responsibility for shaping tertiary education in the future. pp. 93–107

Keywords: tertiary education; neoliberalism; performativity; knowledge; Māori philosophy; Taoism

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University of Canterbury
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University of Auckland

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