What is it all about?


Bushcraft is a delightful blend of a craft and indigenous knowledge of the natural world.  Using low tech tools and the resources found in the bush to provide food, fire and shelter; mans most basics needs.
High profile personalities, Ray Mears and Bear Grylls have exposed millions to these skills. Some of these motor skills can be learnt from books and videos however you need practical experience and knowledge of the natural world to be a competent bushcrafter.  This  knowledge comes  from endless hours in the field or by attending a course.  By combining the appropriate resources and a structured teaching progression Cutting Edge Bushcraft make these skills accessible to all.  This training is not avaliable anywhere else in New Zealand

Trips into the bush will never be the same.  Instead of just being a pleasant walk they become a learning adventure where opportunites and questions abound.

Will that weed work as a hand drill ?

Is that berry edible ?

Could I make cord from that grass ?

How long ago did the deer cross the track ?

Survival is a sub-branch of bushcraft and in the modern world this basically means make sensible decisions and avoiding hypothermia.  Many of the skills covered here, will  be of interest to someone seeking survival training.

Here are some snippets from day one on a four day course.

Cutting Edge Bushcraft

CEB has been operating for 5 year. The client base is wide, ranging from travelers and family groups through to seasoned bushcrafters from NZ and abroad. Outdoor Instructors have been quick to appreciate the uniqueness of CEB courses and tertiary institutes  regularly send their students for training.  An increasing number of tourist visit NZ to undertake ambitious back country journeys some of these wisely come to CEB to acquaint themselves with local conditions and learn appropriate skills.


Chief instructor and founder of CEB

Ian Barnes

Ian has been lucky enough to incorporate his passion for the outdoors into his career.  Twenty plus years teaching Outdoor Education in schools has been followed by 7 years free lance outdoor instructing.  He has taught Bushcraft to many groups over this period.  His range of outdoor interests and competencies is wide.

Whitewater Kayaking

Rock climbing


Ski touring

Sea Kayaking

Canadian canoeing


Trout fishing


He has obtained NZOIA qualifications in the core disciplines (kayak,rock and alpine) and he is well versed in safety issues and the current industry standards.

Ian’s passion and love of the outdoors started young.  At age five he followed behind his Dad on hunting trips, and by the age of ten he was doing his own trips with his twin brother.  Forty years later he still loves nothing better than putting a pack on and exploring remote parts of New Zealand.  This time spent in the backcountry rejuventates his mind, body and soul and is an important part of who Ian is.

The first of many trips overseas occurred when he left school.  Following a childhood interest in early North American history, he bought a Canadian canoe and retraced a number of the fur trade canoe routes living simply on rice, bannock, fish and rabbits.  Trips and adventures to remote parts of Alaska, South America, India, Nepal, Australia, Tibet and Africa were to follow.

Ian’s knowledge of Bushcraft has been learnt over many years in the field, the best classroom of all.  Making and taking opportunities to hone skills in real, testing environments.  Time spent observing  indigenous people living in tune with nature, has inspired him to dig deep into our natural history and recapture lost skills and knowledge, a  journey he still travels.  He has a unique knowledge of plantlore gleened from researching early anthropologist writings and his own experimentation.

He has had a successful teaching career, at times holding management positions and receiving some accolades for his teaching.  Time spent teaching Science and Physics has helped him develop a range of teaching strategies and  fine tune his presentation skills.  Bushcraft draws on many scientific disciplines e.g. geology, botany and astronomy and so a science background is helpful with the technical aspects of bushcraft.

Through-out his career he has ascribed to the following quote form Confucius

I hear and I forget

I see and I remember

I do and I understand

This creed  is fundamental to learning Bushcraft, so CEB courses contain a lot of opportunities for student “play”, allowing learners to progress at their own pace in a relaxed but structured environment.

New Zealand is an awesome playground for the outdoor enthusiast with many magic places.  These places need protecting.  By teaching people to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors Ian hopes they will become advocates for preserving our immeasurable natural resources in the face of “Progress”

Contact Details

Phone: 03 528 5420
Email: info@cuttingedgebushcraft.co.nz


Survival in the
natural environment
using ancient skills
© 2018 cuttingedgebushcraft.co.nz