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Permaculture Design 

This PDC course is divided into,10 2-day modules, held on 1st weekend of each month from March to December.

Allowing the time to experience and absorb the course content through the changing seasons. 

Each module holds a mix of presentation, activities and discussion held on a large topic base around varying locations across Canterbury. 

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Why connect to permaculture?

Permaculture is about the harmonious integration of landscape, people, resource use with the health of the environment as focus. Through mutually beneficial synergies that help provide food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable & regenerative way. 

Permaculture has evolved over the last 40+ years from the concept born from Bill Mollison & David Holmgren’s theories/experience with Ecology, Agriculture and human connectionWe all shared knowledge and experience worldwide. It has grown to encompass more than its roots thought it would mature into. 

Permaculture is a living design system that benefits the 7 domains of life … Building, Tools & Technology, Culture & Education, Health & Spiritual Wellbeing, Finance & Economics, Land Tenure & Community Governance, and Land & Nature Stewardship.

With more people merging with the ideals it represents, the more wealth of evolution this design tool will bring to life.

"Permaculture is for Everyone"

This Course is hosted…

over a year allows the time to see permaculture through the seasons and to absorb the knowledge at an easier speed. We have chosen to step away from the usual consecutive 16 to 20-day residential course model for our course. We wished to create an accessible permaculture platform to share information, resources and skills for those who have full-time work and family life and are unable to travel away from home for 2-3 weeks.

What We Offer

We have a program full of great tutors & places to visit and experience-based learning/teaching 


A mixture of topics with a wealth of information shared through discussion, handouts, presentations, hands-on skill sharing, site visits, demonstrations and resource links.


Support to create a design and learn the stages that will build your understanding and confidence to use and continue developing your living design after the course finishes.


A folder is provided for the course handouts, and access to all the extended course materials is through an online 2024 PDC Group page, accessed on our website or an app on your phone. This is also a great place to communicate with each other, share info, events, photos.


 ​Each month you will receive course material for reference and a bountiful list of resources for further exploration. Plus, access to CPI library with over 600 books & pdfs.


Access to the online group page (private & easy to use) - used to share course logistics, updates, course materials : Activity Sheets, Design Manual, Resource Sheets. 


On Completion

You will have a clear understanding of the design process 


A kete full of ideas, skills, connections, outcomes, design concepts and process to use


A first draft/living design proposal for your home, land, business or project


Network of like-minded people, groups, business and locations to connect with


Permaculture Design Certification endorsed by  in New Zealand organisation and recognised in the permaculture community world-wide


1-yr Membership Permaculture in New Zealand organisation



Course Content

M1: Philosophy, Culture & Design

Intro Session

Why Permaculture

Ethics & Principles

Group Culture


Design Process

Design Method#1: Define

Design Method#2: Survey


M2: Natural & Built Environment

Patterns in Nature

Macroclimates & Weather Patterns

Microclimates & Micrometeorology

Hardiness Zones, Biomes & Biome Shifting

Patterns of Natural Building Design

Energy Efficiency

Appropriate Technology 

Building Activity

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M3: Designing for Regeneration

Design Principles & #3 Analysis

Ecological Restoration

Ribbonwood, Little River

Hinewai Reserve, Akaroa 

Koru Kai Herb Farm, Port Levy

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M4: Invisible Structures

What is Social Permaculture 

Belief Systems

Health and Well-being 

Personal/Groups/Community Efficiency 

Non Violent Communication

Economic Spectrum 

Legalese and Land Ownership

Community Eco-Village

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M5: Cultural Strengthening

Cultural Patterns

Seasonal Living

Time & Goal Planning

Tool Maintenance 

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Design Method #4: Planning

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M6: Soil & Water

The Soil Food Web

Soil Cycles

Soil Chemistry 

The Journey of Water

The Nature of Water


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M7: Growing Soil & Food

Growing Soil 




Plant Antimony 

Nursery Activities 

Pests & Diseases

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M8: Integrated Growing Systems

Edible Gardens/Landscapes


Food Forest


Mushroom Inoculation

Wild Harvest

Design Method #5: Design Concepts

Design Activities: Guild, planting plan

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M9: Design Project Wkd

Design Process:

  1. Define

  2. Survey 

  3. Analysis 

  4. Planning 

  5. Concepts

  6. Implementation & Maintenance

  7. Evaluation  & Tweaking

Wrap up

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M10: Presentation & Celebrations

Presenting your Design and receiving feedback

Certification of completion of the course

Celebration feast 

This is a great way to share your experience and understanding of permaculture, the design process and how it has and will be applied to our private, community and work lives.


During the Course …

you will be learning key concepts, living-design systems and creative solutions that can be adopted into your life. These choices will change and improve the quality of your life and the environment you live and work in. 


Over the 10-Modules we will cover the permaculture design process through a series of activities that use different tools & techniques that help filter the research & data obtained, that will grow your experience and confidence in creating a land-based or social-focused permaculture design. The design can be conceptual or a real life project, that by the end of the course, if timing is right, can be ready for an implementation plan* to aid the actioning of it into life. Your design project is presented on your final weekend of the course where you graduate, receive your course certification and celebrate your achievement.

*After graduating you could take your project design into a new brief to obtain a Diploma in Permaculture (minimum 2-years investment document your observation and adaptations did from the feedback received). If you would like to deepen your permaculture learning journey the diploma is mentored through the Permaculture Educators Guild where you will receive guidance and support throughout the process.

Our online-platform… 

Each month we send out the module logistic & any updates; pre-watching videos & reading material that introduce topics that are covered in weekend sessions, design methods & activity sheets; and after each session a follow up message with the resource list links to delve deeper; and answer any questions that pop up along the way. 

It’s also a place you can share events from your community that others might be interested in. It is also a great way to chat with each other and share what's happening in your permaculture design journey and make plans to meet up at each other's property to share creative ideas or lend a hand. ​


The course cost $2500

Discounts available for Early bird payments:

Get $300 off the course fee on full payment received before 1st January 2024

Or $150 off on full payment received before 22nd January 2024

Bring a friend and share the $300 discount - offer closes 12pm 29th February 2024

We are offering these discounts as a thank you for early registration & payment, this helps guarantee numbers early, and also allows us to complete bookings and payments to locations and tutor in advance.


Payments can be made to…

Canterbury Permaculture Institute

Kiwi Bank - Account #38-9023-0112188-01

Particular: 24PDC

Reference: (Your Surname) & (payment option i.e. 1 /5)


1st instalment or full payment received will complete your registration/place on the course.

If you would like to spread the payments get in touch to see how we can make this work for you.


For more information or to talk over payment options email Lillee Star

Course Policies:


Certification. 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


Communication. Is mostly done through the online group platform. Private emails can also be sent from this app & website. Lillee rarely has phone reception at home, so is a little hit and miss with phone calls and texts.

All interactions with each other are founding in respect and care for each other and the diversity of thoughts, experiences, emotions and beliefs that we all hold.

CPI is on the journey of learning and applying Nonviolent Communication, New Emotions Mapping and other tools that help effective group synergies with its courses.

Food. We will provide morning and afternoon teas and snacks. Lunches are generally potluck style, provided and shared by participants, though you are not expected to share food, especially those with specific food requirements. We do cater for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. Please let us know your requirements.


Flexibility. The course starts in March, though you can join at any point in the course, providing there is space. Modules 1-8 will need to be completed before moving onto the design project.

Any modules missed can be completed the following year.  There is also no pressure if life circumstances make it difficult to complete in one year, the weekends into module components that can be achieved at your own pace to obtain the Permaculture Design Certificate.

You can also attend the modules you have already completed (providing there is space) to keep a flow or to deepen the learning with a refresher. This offer is open to all paid participants, we like to foster a community group approach to education.

Photographs. Are used on our website & promotional material that is shared on social media platforms. There is always an opt out from being in this material. Please let us know. Please feel comfortable to remind others if this is not being upheld for you.


  • If you are unable to attend any of the module weekends on the PDC course, you can transfer your attendance to a future weekend on the following years’ course for no extra cost. Please give as much notice as possible, so we can offer your spot on the module to a guest participant. 

  • Non attendance or notices given after 48 hrs prior to each module event starting, will need to pay an admin fee* to transfer their registration to the following year's session.

  • If you can't attend the full PDC course, please get in touch to let us know, and a full refund will be given or transferred to a future course. No refund can be given after February 1st 2024. The ticket can be transferred onto a future course, or to another person for a small admin fee.

                   * Some exceptions apply, please explain in writing if you wish to waive this charge. Decisions are given at the discretion of the course director.


Self-Responsibility.. Our learning journey is as deep as we make it. Time and energy committed during this 10-month course will give you a far greater outcome. Being around like-minded people sharing a common intent becomes a powerful catalyst for change. Spreading the learning over this time also takes the pressure of how much information is taken on and how effectively it can be applied to your design and realisticness of achievement.

Transport. We encourage carpooling for our site visits around Canterbury, we will facilitate this closer to the time.

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