E Tū Tāngata

Tackling tall poppy syndrome to transform communities

What is E Tū Tāngata?

E Tū Tāngata is a social development programme tackling one of New Zealand’s biggest problems – our Tall Poppy Syndrome. The programme was introduced at Ellesmere College – Te Kāreti o Waihora in 2021 and is taught through the Senior Hapori Curriculum. Using guided conversations, provided on the E Tū Tāngata website, schools are provided with tools to discuss these principles and decide how they will put the principles into practice. The online learning programme enables schools and participants to work through the programme at their own pace.

‘New Zealanders are known as friendly, hard working and laid back, but live here for a while, and you’ll also discover that sometimes we have a bad habit of criticising, resenting and cutting down those poppies who seek to do something different or succeed. E Tū Tāngata seeks to change the narrative. Instead of objections and unhelpful criticism we want to raise the bar,’ says E Tū Tāngata founder, Jay Geldard.


E Tū Tāngata encourages personal reflection, group work and community contribution by focusing on three core principles:

  • You have value
  • We succeed together
  • Others matter

Sir Steve Hansen has been a supporter of the E Tū Tāngata programme since the beginning and says E Tū Tāngata embraces humanity at its best.

‘Everyone wants to be valued and cared about, it is the greatest thing that can happen to any individual because it gives them worth and if you have worth you can go out and achieve whatever you want to do. My advice, give E Tū Tāngata a go, what have you got to lose.’