The Tall Poppy Project

The Tall Poppy

“Cutting down the tall poppy” is a commonly used term in New Zealand to describe those who deliberately put down others for their success and achievements. It is a cultural phenomenon in which people criticise, sabotage, or even hold back those, the ‘tall poppies’ who have, or have the potential to achieve notable success in one or more aspects of life, particularly in academic/intellectual or cultural wealth.

(The phrase stems from the aesthetic desire to have poppies growing in uniformity and of similar height, with taller poppies being cut down to size.)

Other cultures have similar expressions too, in Japan it is said “the nail that sticks up gets hammered down”. In the Netherlands, this expression is “don’t put your head above ground level” (boven het maaiveld uitsteken), with the cultural phenomenon being named Maaiveldcultuur.

This idea seems to have fallen on particularly fertile ground in the Indian subcontinent, including Bangladesh.

We at the Sher Khan Foundation believe that ‘Tall Poppies’ need to be celebrated, protected, and supported. It is indeed tall poppies that typically produce the advancements in society from which many benefit.  

The Foundation provides support via the Tall Poppy project, whereby bright individuals are provided with mentorship, financial support, venture funding, and access to our international network of professionals.