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Survive Aotearoa

Chris’ survival skills and instincts were honed from an early age in a whānau environment up the Whanganui River, he is Ati Hau before he was ever a soldier; Barrie’s a military man, from the East Coast and, unlike his younger former student, considers there is no better institution than the military to learn survival skills. There will be conflict, rivalry and many testing situations, but these boys will have to utilise their individual cache of skills to work together to survive.

Together they will take on some of the most unforgiving terrain in Aotearoa to demonstrate, in their own way, how the right skills, some creative thinking and mātauranga Māori can keep you alive.

In each episode the survivalists will spend 24hrs in a scenario that could happen to anyone: marooned boaters, lost hikers, stranded mountain climbers, or injured skiers. Equipped with minimal gear that would have been carried in the real-life situations, Barrie and Chris must draw on knowledge from Te Ao Māori, their specialist military training and modern survival techniques, and devise extraordinary ways to use what they can find in their surroundings to find kai, water, build a shelter and get warm, and most importantly demonstrate how to navigate a path to safety. At the forefront of every scenario is the challenge: SURVIVE AOTEAROA!

Along the way, they will share some of their experiences and survival stories from their time in the NZ Special Forces, as well as other operational exercises since leaving the army. Both roles took them around the world and placed them in some very tricky situations. But regardless of the situation, they found that adopting SURVIVAL as an acronym reminded them of the key lessons to staying alive:

S – Situational awareness (where am I and how do I manage)

U – Use all resources available

R – Remain calm at all times

V – Visibility is the key (make yourself seen to the search party)

I – If in doubt – stay where you are

V – Valuable assets around you (flora and fauna)

A – Always consider, shelter, water, food and warmth

L – Live by your wits

As professional soldiers, Barrie and Chris served 7 years and 5 years respectively with the NZ Special Forces. This elite unit is trained to carry out arduous operations in all parts of the world, often isolated and far from conventional forces. Working in small groups, usually in enemy territory, Special Forces soldiers have to become their own doctor, dentist, navigator and cook. Frequently, the operational situation makes re-supply impossible and they have to live off the land. They have to handle every kind of situation and problem, whether man-made or an act of nature and get back to safety. They must develop skills which enable them to survive anywhere.