Story: Political values

'Tall poppy' awards

'Tall poppy' awards

While New Zealanders have sometimes been resentful of achievement – as though excellence or superiority in a particular field somehow represented a rebuff to ideas of equality – this offshoot of the country’s egalitarian values has been increasingly challenged, with pride being taken in individual accomplishments (in the arts, science and business, as well as in athletics and sports). Pride in New Zealand’s film industry – in director Peter Jackson’s efforts, in particular – is one example of the decline in New Zealanders’ suspicion of excellence (termed the ‘tall poppy syndrome’). Richard Taylor, co-founder of Wellington-based special effects company Weta Workshops, designed a special award – a ‘tall poppy’ statue – for winners of the World Class New Zealand Awards. These awards were introduced in 2003 to recognise outstanding individuals who had made major contributions to New Zealand’s success internationally. Taylor himself won one of these awards and statues in 2009.

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How to cite this page:

Stephen Levine, 'Political values - Political values and the ‘Kiwi’ way of life', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 29 November 2022)

Story by Stephen Levine, published 20 Jun 2012