Modular Permaculture Design Certificate


Permaculture is a creative design process based on whole-systems thinking. It looks at the patterns and relationships we find in nature and how these can be applied to all aspects of human habitation, from agriculture to ecological building, from appropriate technology to education and even communities and economics. The Permaculture Design Certificate or PDC is the primary qualification for permaculture.


Hamilton Permaculture, Waikato Environment Centre 242 Peachgrove Road, Hamilton Ph. 839 4452.
Administrator: or Development Coordinator:

Course Composition

This modular course is run over 12 weekend days throughout 2016. Each one-day module will be from 9am to 5pm. The PDC is based around group learning, in safe and inspiring environments. The modules are run as workshops and are held at a variety of sites throughout the Waikato, enabling the participants to view different levels and styles of permaculture in practice.

Workshop Modules

1. Philosophy and Design; February 27th and May 7th

Introduction to the ethics and principles of Permaculture Design. Explore realistic opportunities and priorities for reducing your ecological footprint while designing abundance into your life. This workshop provides an essential and foundational understanding of Permaculture as a discipline, a paradigm, and/or a philosophy on which design projects are based. The basic requirements for the Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) assessment projects will be introduced and you will be given an overview of the upcoming PDC modules.

Tutor: Paul Murray

2. Climate and Water; March 19th

This workshop will take you from global patterns to local detail. You will develop a better understanding of climates and weather patterns, and how these are being affected by the way we live. You will be able to identify the climatic conditions that affect your home, town/city, region and country. You will look at the hydrological cycle, water conservation, devices/technology aids, harvesting/storage (rainwater, dams, and swales) and water quality and be able to set for your home or design project the next step you can take to make the most of this valuable resource.

Tutors: Robin McIntyre & Simon Thomson

3. Energy and Technology; April 16th

Explore the types of energy found in nature and delve into energy analysis, efficiency and the life-cycle of energy. You will be given examples of appropriate technologies (high tech & low tech solutions), transport & energy alternatives as well as energy storage (both site specific and community based systems). In this workshop you will revisit the 4R's - reduce, reuse, recycle & repair and be able to identify the next improvement you can make in your home, workplace or community.

Tutor: Simon Thomson

4. Landscape & Site Assessment; May 14th

This workshop helps you to apply the principle "Observe and Interact" with a focus on nature, learning the relationships and patterns which play a part in the way the landscape is formed and managed. You will learn some practical techniques for observation; measuring and recording landforms; sectors and aspects as well as how to gather the information required to complete a landscape and site assessment.

Tutors: Liz Stanway & Rick Thorpe

5. Built Environments [Zone 0]; June 11th

This module will give you an interesting perspective on building performance and how our houses affect our health. You will go on an insightful journey and learn how to design built environments to optimise thermal performance, energy, water and waste while integrating with the landscape around them. You will come away with the skills to be able to calculate things like energy use in the home and understand Passive Solar Design. You won't look at building design the same way again when you are guided through the pros and cons of the options that are available

Tutor: Ian Mayes

6. Healthy Soils & Fertile Gardens [Zone 1]; July 9th

Get down to the nitty gritty of understanding the nature of soils; you will learn how to identify its structure and its health as well as how to apply/make fertilisers, composting and revitalisation aids. In this workshop you will be able to identify the ecological functions as well as the characteristics of the elements in Zone 1 and observe energy flows which will help to inform your garden layout & design. You will explore preparation methods like double-dig and no-dig and the value of mulching, companion and rotation planting.

Tutors: Kim Mounsey

7. Small Animals & Orchard [Zone 2]; Aug 13th

Delve into the ecology of plants and animals, plant selection and layouts for needs in relation to water, facilities, guilds & diversity. Cover the basics of planting and propagation as well as management for productivity and plant health. Learn how to best integrate with small animals (bees, poultry, pigs) along with their management and care.

Tutors: Liz Stanway & Rick Thorpe

8. Large Landscapes [Zones 3-5]; Sept 10th

Take animals and soil care to a larger scale, look at the elements here which include water, shelter, shade, grazing, herbal leys & fodder crops. Explore the potential in plantations, forests and natural eco-systems as valuable resources (food, timber, firewood, etc.) and consider aspects such as protection, restoration and pest management.

Tutor: Maxine Fraser

9. Human Sphere & Community Resilience; Oct 8th

We know our world is changing, although what that means is not always clear. Many of the assumptions we now take for granted will no longer apply in the future. Both long term trends, such as climate change and resource depletion, as well as short term natural and social disasters may impact us in unexpected ways. Building a capacity for resilience, both as individuals and in our communities, is the best way to prepare for an uncertain future.

Permaculture design is all about creating sustainable, resilient and regenerative systems through mimicry of natural ecosystems. These design principles apply as effectively to our social worlds as to our physical ones. This module invites you to explore what it means to apply permaculture design principles to the social world, with a view to both building community resilience and making social change.

Tutor: Nándor Tánczos

10. Te Ao—Māori World; October 29th

Take a journey through the eons of time to today's Maori world. Understand the people's connection with nature, look at the patterns and protocols around care of earth, care of people and fairshare. Further information to be confirmed.

11. Urban Design & Living; November 26th

Putting all of the information together in an urban context this workshop helps you to make choices that can move you toward healthy and sustainable living in towns and cities. You will cover how to bring the community culture back into your life through education and restoring values. You will talk through some of the opportunities there are to engage in local communities and councils. Together you will look at suburban retrofitting to reduce your ecological footprint including 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.

Tutor: Antoinette Van der Weerden

12. Design Project Presentations; Dec 10th

Present your design project to the tutors and fellow students in a supportive environment. Celebrate together the completion of the year with a shared lunch.

Course Fees

The cost of the course is $1400 including GST.
Payments can be made as a one-off or 4 installments - $500 in February, and $300 in May, July & September. Casuals are welcome to attend modules of their choice at $135 per module.