No, I don't carve 21st keys


Why not?
Carved 21st keys are a colonised construct with Māori surface patterning added in attempt to make it feel like a culturally appropriate gift.

In my opinion, it's not.

Let's start with whakaaro Māori, shall we?

A 21st birthday is a significant event we like to celebrate because it's a stage where we acknowledge someone becoming an adult. It's a pretty arbitrary age, really, but it's still one we make a big deal about, so you want a meaningful gift.

Using whakaaro Māori, then, coming of age can be represented with all kinds of cultural iconography.

A hoe can represent paddling your own waka - being in charge of your own direction.

carved hoe paddle michael matchitt


A patu can represent the ability to move into adulthood armed with the skills and resources to make progress. 

carved patu Māori carving Michael Matchitt


A wakahuia can represent the treasures you carry with you into adulthood, and the ones you'll pick up along the way. 

carved wakahuia michael matchitt


And those are only a few ideas. The possibilities are endless.

So contact me and tell me:

  • your budget - if it's less than $600, you should probably talk to someone else
  • the iwi connections of the person receiving the gift
  • if you have any idea what you'd like (that's not a 21st key)

Questions are free!