Permaculture Design Certificate

Canterbury Permaculture Institute offers education through a range of hands-on and theory-based learning. Our Permaculture Design Course (PDC) is divided into 10-weekend modules, held over a 12-month period. This allows us the time to see permaculture through the seasons and to absorb the knowledge fully or to just be involved in a specialist workshop. 

Another reason we chose to step away from the usual consecutive 20-days residential model, is to make accessing permaculture information and certification easier for those who have full-time work and family life. 

Our aim is to share valuable design systems, and tools that can be used to help community transition into a future with clean water, safe and abundant food, renewable energy and resources, healthy watersheds, and prosperous people and ecosystems. Permaculture is the harmonious integration of landscape and people — providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

We have lined up some great places to visit, to interact and learn from. Plus we have a wealth of information to share through presentations, handouts, dialogue and hands-on learning of systems and design tools. Below are the dates and topics that we will cover in this design course.

We offer different options for joining us on this course, from a day, weekend or for the whole 10 session, see the bottom of the page for more information.



September 19-20

This module introduces the ethics & principles of permaculture along with the historical, cultural, and ecological dimensions, its applications & methods of design, plus landscape & site assessment overview and tools needed. We will also share techniques for effective learning and wholistic design.

Module 2: SOIL & WATER

October 17-18

This module we cover soil preparations, composting techniques, soil testing, plus the relationship between soil, water, plants and animals.

We address the nature and importance of water, identifying its sources and its cycles, analysing quality, purifying and treatment techniques, storage, harvesting, use and conservation.


November 21-22

Zones 0-3 are featured in this module. Home & backyard food production, aquaculture, orchard and food forest layout & design. Integration of small animals and the management of, as well as the importance of pollination, manuring and nutrient recycling.

We talk about propagation, planting and guilds for the best crops growth within site   and climate characteristics.



February  20-21

Zone 3-4 covers larger-scale farming, the management and care of large animals, including the effects of grazing and manuring, water demands, and the construction of animal structures.

We also cover, regenerative agriculture & crops, and agroforestry systems. And, how does income from acres work.


March 20-21

Zone 5 the need for wild areas. The importance and usefulness of natural, restorative, and sustainable forestry is the 1st part of this module. Plus, regeneration for our city, suburban and rural areas. Forest Ecology and tree systems & fundamental principles of designing and establishing a woodlot.

Module 6: PATTERNS

April 17-18


This module covers how to read the natural patterns, landforms and features of your site. Techniques of observation and awareness about landforms, topography, exposure to weather and other factors. Why and how to gather important information on both the natural site composition and its cultural implications.

The atmosphere, climate, weather & micro-climates, forecasting, air quality, pollution, and shade and shelter design. The importance of acknowledging hazards and planning accordingly to reduce exposure & risk.

Module 7: SOCIAL

May 22-23

Invisible structures are the networks that form the social and cultural fabric that shape our lives and communities.

The nature of these values include personal beliefs, social design and community development. The forms of ownership and access to resources. Our economic, education, health & wellbeing systems. Plus, governance and decision-making processes for resilient projects, people and places.

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June 19-20

We will cover design for the living environment that reduces our ecological footprints, energy-efficient planning responsible & sustainable living. Natural building design, orientation & layout for natural environments & land formation, city & suburban retrofitting, eco-communities and the use of local & renewable resources. Appropriate technology, sources of energy, including fossil fuels, physical renewable & bio-renewable and energy alternatives available.


July 17-18

Following the Design Process to create a to-scale drawing of a personal and meaningful final site design. Components: Base Map, Sector Analysis Overlay, Analysis of Flow Overlay, Elements & Functions Mind Map, Schematic Design Map, Habitat Defining Species List, Project Detail Designs Visuals, Final Design Map, Phases of Implementation Document.


August 21-22

The Design Project and Presentation of the design is to show the level of understanding received from the learnings of the course. Certifications are award as well a celebration party. You will receive 'where to from here' options and a new community of like mind people to keep you connected to the developing of permaculture in your life.

Course Details

We will be visiting properties throughout Canterbury, each has a unique approach to living and managing their business, home, project or lifestyle. There hands-on-learning workshops, where you receive knowledge and understanding of how these systems work from the experienced tutors; a course manual for reference and a plentiful resource list for futher learning.


We will mostly be around Christchurch City for the site visits, though we also have some very exciting trips beyond, out into the deserve terrain that Canterbury holds.

The course is broken up into module componeants so that any interested topic can be attended without signing up to the whole course. Each module weekend structure is also split up into sub-topics and can be taken as mini workshops. This can allow you to obtain your PDC over number of years. See the options available in the links below.

Carpooling is our preferred method of travel for our trips, and when out of of the city, we will either arrange accommodation for the night stay or provide other suitable options for you to choose from. Accommodation is not covered in the course fee.


In recognition of your completion and achievement of the 10 modules course and presentation of your design, you will receive a certificate that has been endoresd by the Permaculture Educators Guild (PEG) from the Permaculture in New Zealand organisation that is recognised worldwide. You will also receive a one-year membership to the PiNZ .


Cost Options:

$1800 - Full PDC of 10 Modules, 20days

$220 - Individual Modules 2-days

$115 - 1-day Workshop

$60 - half-day Workshops


Early registration is advised to guarantee a space.

This course is designed as a full Permaculture Design Certificate, attendance priority is given to people registering for the full course.


For more information on registering, email Lillee Star