Hello everyone, I'm very excited to tell you about a project Jeff Cameron and I have been working on recently. It's still a work in progress and we would like all of your input in the final stages.

Basically there are different statuses that each member can progress through, and they can only have one at a time. The idea is that everyone starts off as Newbies, then progress up levels as certain skills are demonstrated (by video upload, showing the group at a get together, etc). Skills could be different types of firecraft, shelter building, knife skills, etc.

There are 3 levels to climb, which have temporarily been named level 1, 2, and 3. (So original!). There is also a Administrator status.

Questions to the group:

1) What should the syllabus of skills be at each level?

2) How should members submit the "evidence"?

2) What are good names for these three levels? Something bushcraft/outdoors/nz related.

Here is how you can see the member categories under the Members tab:

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You are missing the point. But I have had my say and will stop following this thread...

Regards to all

Excellent stuff! There is one extremely obvious point I am getting from this. Each and everyone who has made a comment is passionate about Bushcraft. Thanks for providing the opportunity for this discussion Ryan!

How about, no teaching.

People can share knowledge (like we have for thousands of years - but with the help of the internet).

Then based on the amount of assistance that knowledge is to other users (everyone votes or gives a point if the knowledge is useful).

Then as people get more votes, they get a title to show that in that particular subject they know their shizzle...

If someone doesn't want to "share knowledge" then they don't have to and obviously won't be interested in what title they have - but will still have the benefit of the knowledge that others share.

The comments about Legal Liability are great - the key to NZ law is "Case Law" in which previous cases are used as arguments or "Legal Precedent" and the cases that I know of (excluding educational facilities) are all positive for those that want to set up a "Club" and "Share Knowledge".

If Bushcraft.org.nz is responsible and clearly advocates for the testing of skills in a safe environment - with safety equipment at hand, I'm sure we'll be fine ("we" because we are all members of this club and "we" can not reasonably expect someone else to do all the hard work).

The "Duty of Care" can only go so far when we are a web based club. But there are steps that Bushcraft.org.nz can take, with the assistance of it's members, to ensure that safety is paramount. May be some club rules would be helpful? Talk to people in a 4WD club for example, they will show you their rules. regardless of "teaching" or not, some basic precautions would not go astray if we are trying to protect ourselves from litigation. 

Oh dear we're now going down a well trodden path that discussions on forums go down from Time to time. The Legalistic discussion. I'm not a member of the legal profession. But I do understand that within that profession folk tend to specialize in different aspects of the law. You wouldn't talk to a divorce lawyer for advice on patent infringement for example.

The reason folk specialize IMHO is that the law is vast and complex. One person cannot know it all.

Saying something is a bad idea and there could be legal ramifications is pretty common on forums as is folk bandying around legalistic terms like case law, sub judicie etc..

Let's look at the premise that's been presented in a simple form.

BCNZ posts up some how to videos for a set of skills. These skills form the content of a syllabus that's intended for two purposes.

1. Private consumption by individual members on BCNZ for the purpose of increasing their knowledge.

2. completion of the syllabus successfully grants the right to be awarded a status which is relavent to BCNZ only.

People then interact with the forum and display images or video evidence to prove they have completed the tasks. The evidence is reviewed by nominated persons and if to the correct standard the submission is accepted..

The standard for acceptance is set by BCNZ.

There is no financial award given or received for participation in the process.
Participation is entirely voluntary.

There is no suggestion that any forum based award has any validity in the 'real world'.

The forum currently offers instruction. Folk post stuff up and folk comment on it this is how you sharpen a knife etc.
There are already links to YT videos which provide advice and instruction.

So advice on how to do stuff and instruction is already happening on BCNZ.

I agree with Scott's idea of having the skills program as a Group, it lines up with what I originally proposed.


Ryan, can the icons be added just to the Skills group members?

Copied from Bushcraft USA:



Guidelines and information for Bushclass USA
The goal of Bushclass USA is to pass on some knowledge and skills that myself and others have learned or been taught. In my opinion most of the skills covered in this endeavor are probably already contained in this forum somewhere. Our goal will be to centralize what should be considered important, interesting, and fun exercises. We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. This will be a place to visit, practice you skills, and interact with other like-minded people.
Each lesson will have several parts. There will be a thread that includes an objective, a description, and an instructor demonstration. You may either ask questions or add your comments on the lesson in that thread. The next thread will be where you post your practice. Unfortunately, I cannot evaluate every single student practice that is posted. If you have a problem or really need feedback you can PM me and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Most of the time you should be able to compare your work to the instructor demo and evaluate your own work.
An index will be located in the sticky section (here) containing a list of the lessons that will be required for each level of certification. Links will be listed for both the demo and the practice threads. You can do this at you own pace and in any order.
The levels available will be Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master and must be completed in order. We hope to be able to email a certification with your name and the level you have earned. We also hope to have a tab available to go over your Bushcraft USA patch. The complete list of skills necessary to achieve each level of certification is not complete yet because this is a work in progress so please be patient as we organize the process.
I will not be the only instructor. I will be asking people that I know have proven skills to do lessons also. If you have physical disabilities let me know and we will see what we can work out. If you are not comfortable in performing any of these skills, don’t do them. It is not a big deal. Also you need to check any local regulations that may apply to any place you might be practicing at. Be safe!!!! Don’t burn your house down, get permission from your parents or significant other before you get in trouble.
Lastly , this is not a race. Do your best, take your time and have fun.
Bushclass Basic Certification
Complete these required lessons.
• Shavings and feather sticks
• 5 man-made tinders
• Twig fire
• 4 basic knots
• Basic tarp shelter
• ID 5 trees and list 2 uses for each
• Make bannock by fire
• 2 strand twist of man-made cordage
• 3 strand braid of man- made cordage
• Knife sharpening
• Make an improvised cooking implement
• Make a pot hook
• Make a simple snare
 • Do 5 elective lessons
After you have completed these tasks you will have to do 5 outings. One of them will have to be an overnight. During you time in the woods you will show how you used some of the skills you learned. Exceptions can be made. Pm me if you have good reason why you can’t complete a task. We can talk about alternate methods.
  • Use a firesteel on 5 natural tinders
  • Make a splitwood fire
  • Make a shelter from improvised materials(can be done on overnight)
  • Hand sew a ditty bag
  • Cook a meal over a fire
  • Lashings
  • ID 3 poison or dangerous plants
  • Make an insulation bed(can be done on overnight)
  • Demonstrate 4 fire lays
  • Make an improvised saw
  • More knots
  • Make and use natural charcloth
  • 10 outings 3 must be overnight
  • 7 elective lessons

The skills are a little more difficult. There will be more people teaching lessons. I also have 13 more elective lesson that will be posted. All classes must be completed before the outings are done, except those noted above. Those 2 lessons can be completed on your overnights. Remember, you can start at any time and do the lessons you want. If you want the certification and the tab you have to complete the requirements listed above. Any questions please ask.
The Lessons ans Student practice threads that have been posted can be found here;
It is up to you to keep track of what you have completed. Once you have completed all of the tasks, PM me a list of the post # in the student practice threads where you completed the tasks.

Note: Bushcraft USA and its affiliates are not liable for any of the information presented by the instructors in this class. Some of these activities are inherently dangerous so please exercise caution and consult with a physician as well as a trained professional before attempting these activities. This class is not intended to provide you with any official certifications and does not substitute for professional hands on training.

Feather Sticks and Shavings
Objective- To be able to make feather sticks and shavings.
Description- Like I said for the first class we are going to start slow. Slow does not mean unimportant. The ability to make good feather sticks and shavings is a needed skill. It shows you can control you knife and make it do what you want it to do. A pile of properly made fire prep can be the difference between being warm and dry or cold and wet. We want our shavings to be thin and curly. The thinness will make them take a flame easier. The curls allow for air flow. Not only is the shape of our feather sticks vital, but the quantity is also. A pile big enough to fill a baseball hat is the standard. With this amount of tinder you can overcome damp kindling.
Materials needed- Fixed blade knife, a straight knot free piece of wood about the size of a broomstick
Student Practice- A baseball fat full of good feather sticks and shavings


youtube video lesson


Pictured below from left to right. A proper feather stick, a marginal feather stick, and very poor shavings.


If having our own version of this is a problem then maybe we have a link to BSUSA and complete their program on their website.

I just thought it would be good to have own on and ustilise this great site to it's fullest.


You probably need to read this bit as well.....

Bushclass USA is copyrighted and the information/lessons/course syllabus may not be used or reprinted without the written permission of Terry Barney and Bushcraft USA.

There is nothing to stop folk heading over to BCUSA and completing the requirements. I'm working through the basic ones at the moment.
It's been interesting and I ended up doing skills that I would never normally do like braiding cord etc....

There are also some Hardwoodsman requirements tucked away ove there also...

I think we could come up with a NZ version of this with some kiwi variations.

yeah I have PM IA Woodsman for contact details to the head admin to get permission to use bits of theirs for a starting point


Interesting stuff. Thanks for the opportunity to input ideas. I have casually observed the USA bushcraft scheme and assumed it was rather informal and low key. A great way to get people doing stuff rather than just thinking about it.
I think that approach is wise. Some of the ideas expressed here will liberate a can of worms!
A big part of my job over the years has been writing, interpreting and assessing similar sorts of standards to those suggested.
I have spent endless hours of my professional life debating appropriate syllabuses, performance standards,benchmark criteria, consistent assessment conditions, consistency of judgements, moderation,assessor qualifications .etc, Not much fun.
If “someone” is grading evidence and issuing levels these  formal matters will need to be addresses in the interest of fairness and consistency.The thought of introducing 3 levels exacerbates all these issues.

  With such a range of activities suggested the task of collating and recording evidence is not trivial. Far better to keep the scheme at  an informal level where people share what they want and get appropriate feed back through the medium of the forum.
Labelling everybody a newbie is a strange move.Is it subtly forcing people to play the game?
It is certainly not providing useful information to other forum members,quite the opposite,experienced practitioners will not have much interest in gaining  these levels.
The true benefit is encouraging members to get out and refine their skills,not pigeonholing people.
The scheme should focus on enthusing members to participate rather than grading members (never an easy task).
Sorry to be slightly negative because overall I think the forum is doing a great job.

Nice points Barnsey.

I think there has been some agreement on the topic of changing "level" descriptions - then some of us got a little side tracked.

Thanks to John Swarbirck, Jeff Cameron and yourself for getting us back on track.

There may need to be extra effort in clarification that the different "labels" used do not represent a persons skill level, but does represent that they have participated in some of the assignments and how far they have gone.

Do you have an alternative to having three levels?

Its great to have so many people giving different viewpoints and opinions. Perhaps for the time being the 3 levels will just be linked to members self appointed experience level, which comes from the profile question that can be changed at any time. I will work on a separate badge system for a separate group who want to opt into it.

I will also work on changing the logos and names of the levels to someting more nz bushcraft related!

Hi ,

That all sounds good,  ones membership of the forum is independent  form the voluntary training scheme.

I thought this teaching  resource may be of use. I have found it a great way to provide valuablel practice and a means of demonstrating  knife skill. Some of you will have seen it because the great bushcraft instructor Mors Kochanski uses iinvented and uses it.

It was originally published in the english bushcraft magazine,i have sourced copies from the net.



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