Taranaki couple a hit with custom 21st keys for whānau

By Mare Haimona-Riki

A Taranaki-based couple has received a lot of traction on social media platforms for their creative custom design keys and plaques.

Charles Wilkie and Jessica Wanihi (Tainui) or better known as "Beardy Curls" run their creative business from their home in South Taranaki where they receive orders from their customers, and create masterpieces from scratch. From anime to Māori designs, they can do it all!

“We get all sorts of requests, we do a lot of anime, Māori designs, and quite a few gang plaques as well.”


A post shared by Beardy Curls (@beardycurls)

21st keys have long been a tradition in Aotearoa amongst whānau Māori as a symbol of entering into adulthood. Wilkie says that the idea for this small business started around two years ago, prompted a simple question: “Can we make this?”

“And then we just got our tools out,” he says.

“I was working at the time as a tech consultant and we had  just had our newborn so yeah, it was a bit of a project from there.”

Wilkie and Wanihi agree that the most rewarding aspect of their mahi is being able to work from home where they can spend time with their tamariki, while not being affected too much by the lockdown. 

“There are a lot of benefits to our mahi but the best part is being able to involve our kids and be in their lives almost 24/7,” Wilkie says.