Permaculture Design Certificate

This is an inspiring & diverse modular course, offering a range of tutors and locations with different levels of permaculture in practise. There is approximately a one day module per month throughout the year finishing with the presentations of the students design projects in December. The first module is compulsory to those wanting to complete the certificate & it will be held on February 9th. The certificate can be completed over one or two years or you can come on as a casual choosing modules of interest. fees are $120 per module & those who are completing the certificate will do the last module free of costs.

Following is the program

1. Philosophy and Design      Hamilton     February 9th.

Introduction to the ethics & principles of permaculture.Explore realistic priorities for reducing your ecological footprint and designing abundance into your life.

 Design advice is provided to assist you to develop a concept plan for your site, or project that you chose to work at.

2. Climate and Water      Hamilton    March 2nd.

Global and local weather patterns; climate change. Atmospheric conditions, types of climates and weather.Micro climates – shelter, shade, suntraps, harnessing the wind.

Urban weather patterns (acid rain, urban heat sink, wind patterns & tall buildings).

Air quality, pollution & re-vitalisation.

Introduction to the hydrological cycle.

Water conservation, devices and technology.

Water harvesting and storage (rain water, dams, and swales).Water quality and quantity, purifying and treatment techniques.

 3. Human Sphere       Ngaruawahia             April 6th.

Cultural values, assumptions and perceptions.

Indigenous resource concepts, kaitiakitanga and Maori metaphysics.

Social permaculture.

Radical citizenship and social ecology, designing for personal and social transformation.

Cooperative decision making, legal structures and ownership. Conflict resolution.

 4.Landscape and Site Assessment       Raglan            May 4th.         

Observation and interactions with nature and the landscape.  Natures reoccurring patterns.

Techniques for observation; measuring and recording landforms; sectors and aspects.

Gathering information of natural conditions, cultural features and requirements.

Water sheds; water catchments and dams Landscape management.

5. Built Environments  Zone 0          Raglan            June 8th.

Principles of building biology and ecology; Orientation and layout for site and surroundings.

Building design – (warmth & ambience, insulation, passive & active systems, storage, heat pumps, sound, light & electromagnetism).

 Building materials and construction (local earth, straw, timber, embodied energy & toxicity, finishing’s).

 Reuse & recycling – compost toilets, grey water systems, water harvesting & storage

6.Healthy soils and Fertile gardening Zone 1     Hamilton         July 6th.

Nature of soils and soil structure; soil testing  

 Soil health and fertilisers. Composting & revitalisation aids

Zone 1, ecological functions & characteristics. Gardening layout & design- considering the energy flows. Garden preparation double dig or no-dig.  Mulching. ,  Plant & soil health;

companion & rotation planting. Pests &  predators.    Hand in design brief.

7. Small animals and orchard Zone 2    Raglan            August 3th.

Selecting trees/vines/berries/crops etc. for climate and site. Layout for needs in relation to facilities, guilds & diversity.

Planting and propagation; management for productivity and plant health. Integration with small animals (bees, poultry, pigs).
Ecology of plants and animals. Management and care of small animals.

Water requirements, swales & irrigation.

8.Large Animals and Forestry Zones 3-5     A rural site     August 31st.

Animals and soil care – shelter and shade, grazing, herbal ley, fodder crops.    

Water Management

Forest effects and services.

Plantations – For food, alley cropping,

 non-food, timber, firewood etc.

Natural ecosystems – restoration, pest management.      Rongoa

9.Community Resilience                    Hamilton           September 28th.

Possible natural disasters for our bioregion, pest infestation, social-crime, war and revolution.

Recognising risks and hazards. Coping with dramatic and immediate change.

Job loss and financial collapse, alternative financial systems.

Food foraging and natural medicine sources.

Transition towns.

10.Energy and Technology    Ruapuke         October 19th.

Nature and types of energy.

Energy analysis, efficiency and life-cycle of energy.

Examples of appropriate technologies (high tech & low tech solutions).

Transport & energy alternatives. 

Energy storage; site specific and community based systems.

The 4Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle & repair.

11.Urban Design & Living    Hamilton              November 16th.

Healthy and sustainable living in cities. & towns.

Community culture; education and values.

Suburban retrofit to reduce your ecological footprint.  Engaging in local communities and councils.

Layout and integration of urban systems; public spaces, transport & circulation, housing, energy supplies & distribution, urban waste cycles, urban food production, storm water, waste water & potable water management.

12.Design  Project Presentations      Hamilton         December 7th.

  • The design project can be completed individually or in groups.
  • It should be completed in a minimum of 20 hours per person per project.
  • Tutors will be available for feedback throughout the process.
  • Projects can be on subject matter the student is interested in, so long it demonstrates the application of sustainable design principles introduced in the first module. This may take the form of a landscape design for an individual dwelling, a retrofit of a house, work with a community group, setting up a local alternative economic model, etc.
  • It is intended that projects be undertaken in parallel to the course so that designs are built on by progressive learning throughout the course.
  • Submit a project brief at module 6
  • At the end of the course, students will be required to do a 15 minute presentation of their project to the tutors and colleagues.
  • Presentations should demonstrate how the design was conceived (design process), the project (final design) and a brief outline on implementation and/ or management.

If you are interested in registering for the course please contact Cheryl as soon as possible by email:

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