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 modules, held over a 13-month period offered in a two-day weekend format. 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 subject. Within the weekend structure, we have split the course up further into workshops that can be attended without being on the full PDC course. Another reason we chose to step away from the usual consecutive 20-days model, is to make accessing permaculture information and certification easier for those who have full-time work and family life, who can't take 2-3 weeks off to do a Residential Course. 

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.



September 14-15

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 holistic design for our personal goals.

Module 2: SOIL & WATER

October 19-20

Soil preparations, composting techniques, soil testing, and the relationship between soil, water, plants and animals. Understanding the nature and importance of water, identifying its sources and its cycles, analysing quality, purifying and treatment techniques, storage, harvesting, use and conservation, and aquaculture. We also cover the topics of our environment and food production systems.


November 9-10

Zones 0-3 are featured in this module. Home & backyard food production, hydroponics, 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 and the best crops for climate and site characteristics. We also cover the methods of ecological design and waste management systems.



February  8-9

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. Regenerative agriculture & crops, and agroforestry systems. Plus, how to get income from acres.


March 14-15

The importance and usefulness of natural, restorative, and sustainable forestry. Zone 5 the need for wild areas. 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 11-12


How to read the natural patterns, landforms and features of your site. Including techniques of observation and awareness about landforms, topography, exposure to weather and other factors, 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 9-10

The invisible structures and networks that form the social and cultural fabric that shape our lives and communities. The nature of values, including personal beliefs, social design and community development. The forms of ownership and access to resources. Our economic, education, health & wellbeing systems. The governance and decision-making processes of resilient and vibrant communities.

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June 13-14

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.


August 8-9

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.


September 12-13

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. Within the hands-on-learning workshops, we receive the knowledge and understanding of how these systems work from over experience tutors and course manual.

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

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 or provide other suitable options for you to choose from. Accommodation is not covered in the course fee.



At the end of the full module course and the presentation of your design, certification is given in recognition of your completion. Permaculture in New Zealand Organisation endorses this course and the certificate is recognised worldwide. Alongside this is a year membership to the PiNZ organisation.

Any full individual weekend modules from the PDC can be accumulated over consecutive years to gain full module PDC certificate, see the options available in the link below.

Cost Options:

$1800 - Full PDC of 10 Modules, 20days

$220 - Individual Modules 2-days

$115 - 1-day Workshop

$60 - half-day Workshops


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


For more information email Lillee Star