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.

Module 1: Phiolosophy, Design & Patterns


September 19-20

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.

Reed Bed Greywater System.jpg
garde produce.jpg

Module 3: Growing Soil & Plants

November 21-22

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.

Fruit Tree Guild_edited.png

Module 4: Integrated Growing Systems


February  20-21

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 20-21

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. 

food in utopia.png

Module 6: Built Environment

April 17-18

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.


renewable energy_edited.jpg
permaculture economics.png

Module 7: Invisible Structures

May 22-23

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.

Urban Permaculture Auckland.jpg

Module 8: Cultural Strengthening

June 19-20

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.


I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. It's easy.

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

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

when the course starts, options to join us in the follwing ways, will be available:

$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


Office Hours

Tuesday: 1 - 5 pm

Wednesday: 9 am - 5 pm

Thursday: 9 am - 4 pm