“Thank you for the 3 day bushcraft course. I came to Nelson with many questions .Not only did I  return to Auckland with all the answers to those questions but  i received so much more. Your skillful  teaching, guidance and patience allowed me to take in the abundance of knowledge that you possess on bushcraft.   I look at the wilderness in a completely different way.  You simplified things so it was easy to grasp. From all the fire lightning techniques, to tying knots, crossing rivers, using tools to building shelters,  keeping your  tools sharp, navigation in the woods , using plants for weaving cordage and the list goes on. Thank you once again.

  I no longer use   matches, newspaper or firefighters,  to light my fire .

Kind regards

David  (oct 2016)”

“Thanks for giving Keith, Mark and Charles a great time last weekend. They all agreed they learnt a lot and had a lot of fun. We will not hesitate to recommend your weekends to others.

Shirley “

“By the way you are an outstanding teacher, with a very enthusiastic, passionate and captivating delivery. It was a real pleasure to be in your company. “Thank you


“I have been meaning to write to you to say thank you so much for a truly
fantastic experience for our family doing your Bush Crafters course. It very
much exceeded our expectations, we all learnt so much and now feel if we
were lost in the forest (with a knife and ideally a flint) we would all fare
pretty darn well. We loved your less talky more do-ie style and I was
impressed that you kept our boys captivated from start to finish. We all
just loved it!”
“I thought I knew how to handle a knife, keep it sharp, and build a fire in most conditions. I was mistaken. After only a weekend with Ian, I honed many latent skills and learned heaps of new ones. Ian not only has incredible skills and knowledge, he is also a natural borne teacher. This is where he truly shines. He has the uncanny ability to make everyone feel like they are capable and successful. I can highly recommend a weekend or more with this man. He’s awesome!”


“Thanks again for a fantastic course – your passion, knowledge, skills and teaching ability are inspirational and I look forward to doing another course with you at some stage.”


“I’m still recovering from having insane amounts of useful info gifted my way from you. The thing that scares me is that I know that the knowledge you shared over the past 2 days is just the tip of the iceberg – how the hell do you know so much??”


I had the pleasure of a two day course with Ian in March 2015.I wished to learn more about New Zealand bushcraft, so I arranged for an individualised course for just myself, for two days including one night in the bush.

I had asked to learn skills that would keep me alive for a few days in the bush should such a situation ever arise, and I had particularly wanted to learn about fire lighting, shelter building, knots and what you can ‘eat off the land’. Ian’s knowledge was encyclopaedic – he taught me about each of these and  much, much more, usually backed up with an example or anecdote.

He is very patient tutor, especially with my slow learning rate! He game all the time I needed and didn’t rush through anything, beginning from scratch if I said I wasn’t getting something or trying a different approach to help my understanding.

I would highly recommend Ian’s CuttingEdge Bushcraft courses to anyone looking for training in these skills. Additionally, I found the course interesting and entertaining so I would recommend a course as an alternative to the usual New Zealand tourist activities, even if you never have any intention of spending time in the bush- and you never know one day in an emergency the skills could come in useful.



“Hi Ian,

I’m buzzing with excitement. I have just returned from a solo back country adventure and managed to shoot my first deer. You will be pleased  to know that I kept away from tracks and hut. Thanks for helping fine tune my gear and skills and giving me the confidence and knowledge to get out there and give it a go.  The highlight was grilling my fresh venison on a fire lit in the rain,I felt a true connect with my ancestors!

Can’t wait for the next trip.

Best Wishes


“Prior to immigrating to New Zealand  5 years ago,I attended a number of bushcraft schools in the the U.K.   I have been looking for someone to help me adapt  my skills to the New Zealand  forests.  Much to my delight Ian was familiar with all my techniques and kept me busy with many extension activities and in the process acquainted me with the local forest resources. I can see I have much to learn and will be returning to CEB to soak up some more knowledge . A busy and rewarding stay.


Ian Barnes is the real deal. His depth and range of knowledge is vast and comprehensive, his teaching methods effective and memorable, his courses are adapted to individual needs and desires of the student/s. A course with Ian provides real skills that will enhance the outdoors experience for anyone from the novice tramper to the seasoned bushman. Essential skills that may save your life.
I came to Ian to brush up my wilderness survival and bushcraft skills before heading into the New Zealand backcountry. After having studied bushcraft books, youtube and experimenting myself for many years I considered myself quite competent in the field. After a 5 day course with Ian I was blown away by just how much I had learnt, and still had to learn.  I have since done further days with him and plan to do more course in the future. I can not recommend a course with Ian highly enough. He is truly world class in his knowledge, experience and especially in his teaching methods. When it comes wilderness survival, bushcraft, , heck just about anything in the outdoors Ian is the man to talk to.
Seon Crockford.
Former Captain to the Cabrinha Quest ( A five year Pacifc Ocean sailing expedition) “

“For some people teaching comes naturally and that certainly applies to Ian. Always relaxed and ready to offer words of encouragment. I spent three days learning and laughing with Ian with a focus on bush tucker and medicinal plants. It really has opened my eyes to whats available without prescription from natures medicine cabinet. Spending time with Ian just goes to show that even in winter with the right knowledge and skills finding food and medicine is not that difficult in the wilds. Ian has a remarkable wealth of knowledge and I look forward to joining up with him again”.



“We had a thoroughly enjoyable bushcraft weekend with Ian, which has left both of us inspired and confident to get out in the wilds again soon to try out our new skills! Ian is a great teacher, very relaxed and encouraging, and was able to pitch the activities well for both of us despite the diversity in mine and my partner’s experience (no knife skills outside kitchen vs very enthusiastic ex-boy scout). Mastering many different ways to start a fire (including the fail-safe-worst-case-West-Coast-torrential-downpour method) was good for getting a solid grounding in this essential skill. Our night out in the bush was a great way to put some of these skills into practice and talk through emergency situation strategies. Ian is also a real fount of bushcraft knowledge and is very willing to share it – the poor guy barely had a moment’s peace with Ed’s constant questioning on all sorts of things from river crossings to optimal alcohol stove design. I would wholeheartedly recommend Ian’s courses to anyone, no matter their particular interest or skills level. “

Lois & Ed

“Ian’s individual bushcraft course is amazing, all the things I had asked to be taught, and more – I learnt so much in one day! Making a whistle, carving a spoon, knife sharpening, fire sticks, cordage, knots, the bow fire drill, traps and archery-great value for money. Ian is an excellent teacher who clearly shows how to do something with just the right balance of advice, help, and enough time for a student to work things out on their own. He is a true bushman with infinite patience.  Ian’s knowledge is shared in such a fun and informative way and the hands-on skills he teaches are so valuable for anyone keen to learn bushcraft, no matter what their level of learning, from beginner to more experienced. Fantastic, I highly recommend these courses! “
Fiona Golden Bay

Ian makes it all look easy,and it is, when you get the right instruction. He is a great teacher paying close attention to detail and always being positive and supportive. “


“I accompanied by partner on a Fundamental Bushcraft course to help make up the numbers. Having no prior interested in the topic I was amazed how engaged I was in the activities. It was great fun and total absorbing, the 2 days just flew by.I can’t wait to get out into the bush and try these skills for real.”


Hi Ian

Please feel free to select snip-its out of the following email for your testimonial section of your website

I stumbled upon Ian’s website while searching for an adventure for myself and 3 mates. Ian was really flexible and basically tailored a 3 day trip to our specifications (with a few surprises chucked in for good measure) which can be most accurately described as a ‘best of’ Man vs Wild episode. We learned how to track, trap, and skin possums, he taught us about the various shell fish in the region and how to gather them (eating oysters straight off the rocks was amazing), and he set us up with kayaks so we could paddle through the Marlborough Sounds and fish using handlines from our kayaks. There is nothing more amazing then sitting on your kayak fishing and seeing dolphins swim right past you. We learned how to make fire several different ways (even in the open rain!), built a ‘semi’ waterproof hut to sleep in and learned a lot about the native fauna and flora (what you can eat, what you can’t eat, what you can eat but that tastes disgusting). It was an amazing trip I will never forget.


Hey Ian,

 I was part of the five strong crew from Anakiwa that a few weeks back had a two day course with you. Wanted to let you know how much i enjoyed the course!
I was suprised at how engaging, and absorbing the course was and on reflection, while we covered a variety of subjects, we also went into quite a lot of detail. You were great at adjusting your teaching to our level of skill and knowledge.
I loved how you got us straight into it and the course was so hands on. For me, i have taken a bunch of skills that i haven’t stopped thinking about how i can us with my students at Outward Bound. I also noticed the other day when i was tramping that i knew a lot more about the bush i was in and had more open eyes than before towards my surroundings and how i could use these things.
I also loved the way you included lots of aspects of Maori knowledge and culture into your teachings. Loved it!
Thanks again Ian, i’ve been raving about the course to others, and look forward to my next course!
Chee Joe.
“As an outdoor instructor I found Ian’s course to be highly valuable for both the development of my own skills and those of my students. A wealth of bush craft knowledge, Ian created a course perfectly customised to our specific interests and needs. I highly recommend this course to anyone looking for a way of deepening their own or their students connection and confidence within the outdoor environment.”
Anna Li, Outward Bound NZ Instructor
Thanks again Ian, you may see more of us from OBNZ at your door!

“Our family, with another, spent the day with Ian learning bushcraft skills.  We had a really wonderful time.  Ian’s calm and wise presence meant that we learnt a huge amount in a short time, and it was really fun.   We had adults and children learning alongside each admist encouragement and a humble positivity.

We’re looking forward to the next session, as it seems to me that Ian is a bit of a treasure with what he knows, and can do, and can impart in such a joyful way.”


“Ian knows his stuff,your quickly realise he has heaps of knowledge ,skill and teaching experience. A thoroughly good experience.”


I have done other courses,read books and watched  videos but doing a course with Ian has brought everything together.  I’m stoked and feel competent and keen to head bush.


“Kia ora Ian
I just wanted to let you know the students were buzzing after our 3 days in the bush with you and were so excited about the new skills they learnt. I was impressed with all your knowledge and how engaged the students were with you. looking forward to next year already.
Mauri ora
Todd Jago
Programme Co-ordinator
Adventure Tourism
Nelson Marlborough Institute Of Technology”



“We have both been itching to email you & tell you what a fantastic time we had with you on monday. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, you are a very good teacher, we had soooo much fun! We have both been hoping we would meet someone like you, who is both enthusiastic and encouraging about bushcraft and really appreciates the value in learning practical skills….. Richard absolutley loved the course and really has a true passion for learning bushcraft, he thrives on developing his practical skills and the more he learns about bushcraft, hunting, fishing etc the more he wants to learn….. We thought you taught us in a way that allowed us to develop our skills at our own pace, no pressure, just chilled and fun! You are an inspirational guy, and you have fuelled our interest to learn more – so thank you… : )

You would be proud!- we took the bow and drill you gave us & sat it on the deck outside our little cabin and richard drilled away & YES we got lots of smoke and a coal! yipheee! We were so pleased with ourselves. We also went out & got ourselves some flax & sat on our deck looking like an old married couple making our flax cord…. : ) Richard has also started carving a small spoon after we went & bought a knife similar to the ones we were using…..”
“Hi Ian,
Just to let you know the boys (6 boys aged 9 – 13yrs) had an absolutely
fabulous day!  The mix of activities including knifecraft, trap making, fires & cooking, triple
horn spear making was appropriate and they are still talking about it.  They are definitely
looking forward to the next adventure.  Thanks for giving these boys are
great day out doing what they love and enjoy – being boys…”
Hi Ian
thanks for an awesome day. Students loved it and so did the staff!
We will definitely see you again.
 Many thanks

Contact Details

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


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