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 at a easer speed. We chose to step away from the usual consecutive 16 to 20-days residential course model, 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 our 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 and regenerative 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.

We offer different options for joining us on this course, from a day, weekend or for the whole 10-sessions. We are open to any of the modules 1 - 8 to be attended as a one-off session, more detail below.


Dates and topics that we will cover in this design course.

Module 1: Phiolosophy, Design & Patterns


September 18-19

This module introduces the ethics & principles of permaculture along with the ecological & environment overviews. We will also share techniques for effective learning, & wholistic design methods, along with pattern understanding... The atmosphere, climate, weather & micro-climates, forecasting, air quality, pollution.


Module 2: Water & Soil

October 17-18

Water & soil are the foundations of any productive growing system. This weekend brings a broad view of the nature and importance of water and soil, their sources, cycles & potential for human management, along with the importance and structure of the soil food web.

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Module 3: Growing Soil & Plants

November 20-21

Zones 1 & 2 home & backyard food production: building soil, propagation & transplanting, seed saving, crop planting, plans & care. Plus the introduction of small animals into the system and the importance of pollination, manuring and nutrient recycling.

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Module 4: Integrated Growing Systems


February  19-20

Zone 3-4: orchard and food forest layout & design, regenerative agriculture & crops, and agroforestry systems. We also cover the management and care of large animals, including the effects of grazing and manuring, water demands, and the construction of animal structures.


Module 5: Designing for Regeneration

March 19-20

Regeneration for our city, suburban and rural areas. The importance of forest ecology and tree systems, the usefulness of natural, restorative and sustainable forestry, & fundamental principles of designing and establishing a woodlot. Plus, zone 5: the need for wild area.s. 

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Module 6: Built Environment

April 16-17

We will cover building design - orientation & layout for natural environments & land formation, and renewable resources. Appropriate technology & sources of energy, including fossil fuels, physical renewable & bio-renewable and energy alternatives available. Plus, reducing our ecological footprint and resource management.


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Module 7: Invisible Structures

May 21-22

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, governance and decision-making processes for the health, well-being & resilience of projects, people and places.

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Module 8: Cultural Strengthening

June 18-19

The cultural dynamic within the well-being of communities & the well-being of ourselves is  a strong foundation of social permaculture and the people care ethic. We look at the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual support systems, through the seasons of the year, from food nutrient & preserving to time & goal setting for community or person future direction.


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Module 9: Design Project

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.

Module 10: Presentation

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 awarded as well as a celebration party. You will receive 'where to from here' options and a new community of like-minded people to keep you connected to the development of permaculture in your life.

Course Details

The course is held on the 3rd weekend on each month, apart from Dec & Jan break for summer. We have visit visit a range properties throughout Canterbury during this course, each has a unique approach to living and managing their home, business, project or lifestyle. In these sessions you receive knowledge and understanding of how these systems work from the experienced tutors/presenters demonstrating and guiding you through the course content; Each month you will receive a course manual for reference which includes a bountiful list of resources for further exploring.


We are mostly around Christchurch City for the visits, though we also have some very exciting trips beyond, out into the diverse terrain that Canterbury holds. For this carpooling is our preferred method of travel. 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.

We have an open policy as to when you can join the course, we have made the weekends into module components that can be achieved at your own pace to obtain the Permaculture Design Certificate. This can allow you to obtain your PDC in one-year or over a number of years. This also applies to those attending the one-off session, who in the future could acccumulate them into the full Permaculture Design Certificate. 


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 endorsed by the Permaculture Educators Guild (PEG) from the Permaculture in New Zealand organisation, and is recognised worldwide. You will also receive a one-year membership to PiNZ as a new PDC Graduate.



$2200 -- Full PDC of 10 Modules, 20days
a discount to $1800 is given for full1-off payments and prepayments plans finalised before the course starts. Please contact us if you would like to know more.

This course has been designed as a full Permaculture Design Certificate, registration and payment are open for full course applicants all year round. Serval prepayment plans will be active on the registration form at varying times, the cut off for the last option is 31st July. 

Weekend sessions are able to register from September 1st

Early registration is advised to guarantee a space, as limited tickets are available. 

These modules session are:

  2-days - $220  or  1-day - $115

Modules can be completed in any any order over a number of years to obtain your PDC certificate, though mosules 9 & 10 are only available for those for have completed the other 8.

For more information on registering, email Lillee Star