Hi, Ben. I am posting this in reply to your query as to my background, etc. I'd love to tell you that I was a bushman from way back, that my father used to take me hunting and camping every chance he got, and we had the times of our life. But that would be a complete lie. I have never been hunting, either pigs or deer. My sad loss. 

But I have been camping, in the Urewera when I was possum trapping, and in the Raukumara ranges, doing the same thing. I used to camp out in my back yard as a child, dreaming of the day when I could do it for real. (My family thought I was nuts). I used to use an old sheet for a tent, an old blanket for a groundsheet, and occasionally Mum would let me make a fire, but I had to put it out before I went to bed.

Although I may not be a 'bushman' by yours or anyone's standards, I love the bush. I love being out in the bush. I love sitting by a campfire at night, listening to the sounds of Nature, watching the stars that are not hidden from view by the glare of artificial incandescent bulbs. I love hiking the trails, wondering where the track leads, and looking forward to what is around the next bend. I love the smell of woodsmoke, as it seems to cleanse the spirit of 'modern life'.

Due to responsibilities, I don't always get away as much as I would like. So I have had this dream of starting a Bushcraft School for the last decade and a half, never going beyond thinking about it, always listening to those who told me to work for a living, and stop 'dreaming', and face the realities of life.

That's why I need to have the input from people like you. Those with more experience than I have. Those who can teach me as well as teach those who have never slept anywhere but in a bed, in a house, in a suburb. I am aiming this at people, young and old. People who dream of going camping and learning something of the 'old ways'. I have seen hardened city folk humbly ask if I could teach them how to chop wood, or how to start a fire, and what would be the best way to tie a knot.

Those people are out there. We only have to reach them. We could host the Scouts, Boys Brigade, youth groups, church groups, the list is almost endless.

What I need is people with bushcraft experience to help share the Dream.

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Comment by Moba on August 8, 2012 at 8:01
Hi Rania
Your honesty regarding your bushcraft experience is refreshing. It is important to recognize the effect you have on people within your sphere of influence with regard to your approach to bushcraft in a mental, spiritual and physical way.
Your description of the smell of wood smoke, for example, rekindled a passion in me for the craft. I grew up in Africa and bushcraft saw me through a few mental, physical and spiritual rough patches - the most comforting was the smell of wood smoke!!! We often think that we have to do things in a grand way to make a difference, but it's the small influences we have that can make a big difference in forming people's passions for bushcraft in its many forms.

Comment by Rania Marsh on December 21, 2011 at 5:29

Wow, barnsey, that opened my eyes. I had no idea. Looks like i have some heavy-duty homework to do! Thanks for your input, very much appreciated!

Comment by barnsey on December 16, 2011 at 19:02

Hi Rania,


Great post.  Well written and shows your are a man with passion and a soul.

There is far more bushcraft instruction going on than you may think. There are several companies and hundreds of schools and all polytechnics doing substantial teaching. Apart from the hunting aspects most of your learning outcomes are being widely taught.

Unit standard 430 which is commonly taught includes constructing traps and lighting fire in the rain and many other topics.

I run a business which teaches tradition bushcraft in the style of Ray Mears and the British bushcraft schools. Once you start the planning phase many thorny issues arise, eg DOC concessions, Health and Safety , LiabilityInsurance,  new laws covering adventure tourism.

Even a simple matters as getting enough raw materials to supply groups is a challenge  eg.

woods for hand and bow drills, tinder's , timber for carving and feather sticks, natural material for shelters.

These resource get depleted very quickly from an area once courses start


Of course there is also the bushcraft/firearms teaching being carried out by MSC.  I have had nothing to do with this organisation but understand that their instructor training pathway may be the quickest way to be a recognised instructor.


The HUNTS program run by the deerstalkers association has a great curriculum and has trained and inspired many young hunters. Instructors are volunteers

You can see that there are a number of ways of being recognised as an instructor  which would be the first step in establishing your own school

Good luck

Comment by Rania Marsh on December 12, 2011 at 15:54

Hey, fellas, thanks for the comments, keep them coming! I'm a big fan of Ray Mears, and to a lesser extent Les Stroud. What a lot of people forget is that a lot of frontiersmen and bushmen started off being çivilians', city folk who one day decided to 'go west'!

Thank you for your support, it means a lot, and you are appreciated. Ra.

Comment by Scott Hamilton on December 12, 2011 at 13:37

Not sure about Les Stroud, but Ray Mears trains armies in survival skills. I am in the same boat as you Rania, I never grew up in a hunting or bush loving family, and researching knifemaking on the internet and coming across a bushcraft knife got me researching Bushcraft. Now I am a Scout leader and a fulltime possum trapper, and I go stirr crazy in the city or in a Workshop (was a mechanic). My knowledge is all gleamed from books, TV and the internet, and I do not get anywhere enough time to put it into practice. And I can tell you now, Scouts need help with these things, they forget as soon as they are taught, and are babied by PC guidlines.

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