Permaculture Design Certificate


This PDC will change the way you see things and give you philosophical and practical tools to build a resilient future. You will learn the “what”, the “why”, and importantly the “how” of Permaculture. We adopt a hands-on approach so you gain the confidence to implement what you learn in practice.

A Permaculture Design must be able to cater for the different challenges and opportunities brought by winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Having the sessions spread over the year enables you to see and experience permaculture in every season.

This PDC fulfills the requirements of the international permaculture curriculum and upon satisfactory completion you will receive a certificate recognised by PiNZ and internationally.


Very engaging course. Lots of fascinating content! Workload is about right. Great lunches. – Tom, Auckland

I really enjoyed learning about the many aspects of permaculture design, the interesting conversations, and of course the great food – participant 2022


We have not yet planned our next PDC – please contact us if you are interested in being kept informed

Design Project

An essential component of the PDC is the design project. You will work on your own or in a group to produce a Permaculture Design of your choice. This can be a physical design e.g. a food forest, or a social design e.g. creating a resilient community. Each student will be expected to spend approx 20 hours on this project. This is in addition to the monthly sessions.
At the end of the course each design group will present their final design to the rest of the class and invited visitors.

Principal tutor

Your principal tutor is Rory Fogerty. Rory has worked in the Permaculture arena for many years and was awarded his Permaculture Design Certificate in 2017.

Rory was instrumental in establishing Te Maara Kai O Wirihana attached to the Manurewa High School. This project formed the basis for his Permaculture Diploma. Rory has extensive experience teaching all ages through his university work in Auckland and abroad, and his high school teaching.

Rory will be assisted by other experienced permaculturists depending on the material to be covered.

Survey practice - an essential designer skill
Survey practice - an essential designer skill

Click this link for the software resources we will introduce during the course.


Early bird until 4 weeks before the course starts- paid in full
$1200 paid at  time of registration

Full payment required within four weeks of the start
$1400 paid at time of registration

Installment plan any time until registration closes
The course can also be paid in 4 installments of $400

Group discounts
Register 5 or more attendees at the same time and receive a 15% discount on full price

Groups and Installments to be paid in advance.


Cancellation up to 1 month before the start is free, after that you will receive a refund of 90%.
If we cancel you will receive a full refund.
Installment plans only receive a refund if we cancel the course.

There may be scholarships available  (please enquire)
Complimentary tea and coffee will be provided. You will need to bring your own lunch to share and snacks.
You will also receive a complementary copy of Permaculture Design Guide by Aranya to supplement the online course notes.

Registrations close one week before the course starts.


Sessions start at 9:30am and continue to 4pm followed by happy hour.

Each session kicks off with a review of what was covered in the previous month, followed by theory, and then practical exercises. You will receive homework for the next time.

During the sessions various software applications and how they can be used to facilitate the design process will be introduced. While not essential it is advantageous if you bring along a laptop. The software we will use is freely available either as open source or evaluation copies.

Talks are accompanied by outdoor activities so please bring suitable clothing and clean closed footwear. Permakai is a working farm and our Health and Safety policy rules out bare feet.

Session 1: Introductions, Ethics and Principles

We kick off by introducing the course and each other. Then an overview of Permaculture and an explanation of what the ethics and principles mean. We will cover why it is important to work with nature and not against it, and how to convert problems into solutions. The different attitudinal and ecological permaculture principles will be discussed.

Observation is an important aspect of Permaculture so we will spend some time outside observing nature on the farm and the surrounding countryside.

We conclude with a review of the software tools that make the life of the permaculture designer easier and more effective.Permaculture Design Certificate

Session 2: Weather, climate, zones and sectors, and observation

Weather influences all of us and in this section we touch on aspects of meteorology related to forecasting, reading a weather map and what determines our climate and how it fluctuates. We explore microclimates and learn of their uses. We also introduce the building blocks of permaculture design, namely, zones and sectors.

Lastly there are exercises in the first design aspect of Permaculture: how to observe. We may be able to look, now we will learn how to really see.

Session 3: Soil, water, and air. Appropriate technology

When we mention Soil we include the Soil food web with macro- and micro-organisms and their relationships, nutrient cycling and fertility factors, the pros & cons of tilling vs no-dig, composting and mulching, soil sampling & analysis: types, textures, pH. indicator species and dynamic accumulators.

Water includes the hydrological cycle; rainwater harvesting, dryland and temperate strategies, Yeoman’s keylines and watershed analysis, water use in the home and at work, and domestic water saving.

Air, in particular the movement of air, assists with life on the planet. What strategies can we employ to make the best use of this moving air? Shelter belts and wind turbines are but a few.

This leads into appropriate technology and the cycle of reduce, repair, repurpose, recycle

Session 4: Understanding patterns, designing 101

Patterns are everywhere and it is important to be able to discern and describe them. We introduce different patterns and their importance – physical, mental, behavioural, natural, and why designing from pattern to detail is so important.

This session finishes with what it takes to create and present your design in the best possible way.

Session 5: Site analysis and client interview

The different permaculture design process frameworks of, amongst others, SADIMET, SADIMEA, OBREDIMET, SWOC, and the increasingly popular Design Thinking are introduced.

Proper research is essential for a good site analysis. We cover the main sources of information and probably a few you did not know.

This is followed by the client questionnaire and an explanation an effective way to record the information.

Session 6: Design tools and reading the landscape

This month we dive deep into producing the site design. Not only the various tools & methods will be covered but also the soft skills of reading the landscape and identifying what the vegetation is telling us.

After putting this into practice on the farm we round off the day with a session on group working and how to manage disagreements.

Session 7: Site visit

Today we visit the 100 acre farm which was designed using permaculture principles after the first visit of Mollison to NZ in the 1980’s.

It will be good to note how the design has stood the test of time and if the assumptions made then are still valid.

We will be led around by the owner, Judy Bischoff, who will describe the initial design principles employed and how the farm has evolved in the past 40 years.

Session 8: Trees and tree crops

This month we explore the aspects of Food forests – swales, guilds, companion planting and pest and disease prevention.

We will have a talk by a pruning expert from the Auckland Botanical Gardens pruning. If the weather is suitable you will be able to carry out some summer pruning.

Session 9: Food production, crops, animals, poultry

This session covers the “agriculture” part of Permaculture.

We cover an important, if not the most important, aspect of resilience, namely, the production of food. What area do you need to feed a family, how do you start, how do you manage, and more? We discuss the role of animals and poultry and how to care for them.

Permakai is a certified organic market garden. What does it means to be certified organic?

Session 10: Design for living

This session builds further on the concept of resilience introduced last month and discusses personal resilience, and community resilience and gives examples of how communities are working together. We also discuss: Wealth and the different types of capital; Land Tenure & Community Governance; Invisible structures and their role in resilience; Decision making (e.g. consensus) & Sociocracy; The types of building, design of dwellings and other structures; How to design for Living communities; Preparation for Natural disasters; Retrofitting houses and communities.

Session 11: Presenting the design project

After each session you will have been expanding and adjusting your design project. Now the time has arrived to present your project. If you have had a particular client in mind you may wish to invite them to hear what you have to say.

Successful candidates will receive their Permaculture Design Certificate.

Friends and family are also welcome on this day of celebration.

Session 12: Wrap up and next steps

Where to from here? This final session deals with how to start your own business as a permaculture designer. What you need to have in place, how to attract your first customer, and how to engage with the wider permaculture community e,g, by setting up action learning guilds and peer support groups.