This paper presents a picture of a union which has survived throughout the 1990’s period of neoliberal reform unprecedented attacks on the pay and conditions of work of its members and on its very existence as a union, and today is in a position of considerable strength. The neoliberal mantra of avoidance of ‘provider capture’ sought to marginalize and ultimately destroy the capacity of education unions to represent teachers in terms of their working conditions and their professional priorities. The paper brings together evidence from successive negotiating rounds, data assembled by NZPPTA through its regular surveys of its membership, schools and teacher education providers, and information from major campaigns, to create a picture of the issues which education unions have had to confront under neoliberal policies and the strategies which have proved to be effective. It also indicates where the union believes it is positioned now under a government which is beginning to move away from deprofessionalising neoliberal policies to a position of engagement with teachers in the development of future education policies.