Taking NZ Bushcraft to the masses

15th December 2020|3min

Kiwis and outdoor enthusiasts have trusted the NZ Bushcraft Manual for 50 years. Now its revised edition has gone digital (and free) but its history hasn’t been forgotten.

The first edition was released by the Mountain Safety Council (MSC) in 1968 for not only trampers but hunters, school groups, clubs, alpine enthusiasts and families looking to develop their knowledge on all things bushcraft. 

Now we have have released the manual online to make sure everyone has access to the key outdoor information 

The NZ Bushcraft manual was launched in 1968 with the release of 50,000 copies, and not long after 400 copies of the river crossing chapter was printed due to strong public interest in the topic. 

The original edition covered everything from tips on how to light a fire, how to react in a search and rescue situation, how to survive in the back country and build a shelter, and how to cross a river. Its basic gear list included such things as the manual itself, a half axe, billies, a mending kit for long trips, a torch with a spare bulb and batteries, and puttees (bandage-like gaiters). 

While some skills and tips have developed over the decades, the original basis of not only safety but how to respectfully enjoy New Zealand’s outdoors still remains.

NZ Bushcraft Manuals through the years

NZ Bushcraft Manuals through the years

The current edition has a 21st century focus with specific topics such as how a GPS and distress beacon work, and environmental care, but more importantly it is accessible online for those preparing for the outdoors. 

MSC Chief Executive Mike Daisley says the manual was developed to help newcomers and those with some experience to enjoy the New Zealand outdoors safely.

“It provides foundation knowledge on which recreationalists, group leaders and those responsible for individuals and groups in the outdoors can build experience and understanding.

“This edition has been updated at a time when the digital space continues to evolve at rapid pace. Much of how we access information, and learn, is now available online,” Daisley said.  

We would like to acknowledge the many people and organisations who have contributed to the information, reviews, photos, sharing and use of the NZ Bushcraft Manual to support people’s safety in the outdoors.

We trust that this manual will add to your developing knowledge, and to help you #MakeItHomeNZ.  

Find the Bushcraft Manual here where it can be shared and downloaded.

If you have a story to share about your times with the NZ Bushcraft Manual, please get in touch with us.