Permaculture Course




Permaculture is an holistic, practical and creative approach to landscape design, meeting the needs of people, animals and the wider community.  It integrates appropriate technology, recycling, sustainable agriculture and gardening, architecture and community building, creating diversity, stability and resilient natural ecosystems.

This is a great course for designing your garden whether you have an urban back yard, a one acre to 15 acre lifestyle block or a small farm.  Get the knowledge and skills from experienced teachers and practitioners as well as inspiration and encouragement….



MODULE 1 Permaculture Design and Philosophy                   Day 1
-  Ethics and Principles-  Aims and objectives of design
-  Observation and patterns-  Elements and functions
-  Application of practical permaculture
-  Building a herb spiral (P) 
Day 2
-  Method and processes of design
-  Topography, aspect and contours
-  Sector analysis
-  Permaculture Zones
-  Designing to scale
-  Application of design skills – creating a basic design for a property (P)
MODULE 4 Designing for water    Alternative energy and appropriate technology  





 Day 1
Water in a healthy landscape
- how streams work
- the roles of trees in the water
- landscape interchange.
- water in the NZ farming & urban landscapes
-  Design principles for water
-  Water storage in the landscape (includes working on      contour, terraces, spoondrains (swales), keyline.
-  Household / Zone 0 -  water needs, harvesting & storage
-  Utililising the water and nutrients in greywater & blackwater (principles only)
-  Design exercise – water and nutrients in the urban landscape (P)
-  Aquaculture.
-  Practical exercise (P)
Day 2
-  Alternative energy
– Wind, water and solar power, solar hot water heating
-  Cost effectiveness of installing systems
-  Energy efficiency
-  Energy auditing
-  Biofuels
-  Reduce, repair, reuse, recycle
-  Appropriate technology – scything or solar oven (P)
MODULE 5  Small and large animals     Food forests   Day 1  Characteristics, needs, functions, products:-  chooks, pigeons, ducks, geese-  sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits

-  horses, donkeys, cows

-  Origin, breeds, health-  Fodder tree crops

-  Fencing, yards, grazing rotation


Day 2

-  Food forests – how to design, plant and maintain

-  The benefits of forest gardening

-  Canopy trees and shrub species

-  Providing nutrients and nitrogen fixers

-  Herbaceous perennials and edible groundcovers

-  Annuals, biennials and climbers

-  Ground preparation and planting

-  Wind protection, paths and maintenance




Urban Permaculture and Zone 1     Social Permaculture   Day 1 –  Zone 1Designing on a small scale-  Vertical growing, container gardening,

-  Rainwater collection and watering systems

-  Maximizing growing spaces

-  Edible hedges

-  Minimalist vegetable gardens

-  Polycultures and plant stacking

-  Recycled materials


Day 2 

Social permaculture

-  Bioregions and bioregional directory (P)

-  Allotments

-  Communities – intentional and local

-  Transition town initiatives

-  Creating resilience

-  Community gardens

-  CSA’s, farmer’s markets and co-operatives




Nutrition, food and cleaning     Hazard and catastrophes, legal structures  Day 1  - Seasonal and local food-  Preserving, freezing and storing harvests (P)

-  Fermented foods – take away some starters…

-  Herbal medicines

-  Weeds as a food source

-  Nutrient dense food production and brix testing  (P)

-  Natural cleaning agents


Day 2

–  Planning for catastrophes- droughts, floods, erosion, slips, volcanic eruptions (P)

-  Climate change, peak oil

-  Alternative currencies – bartering, green dollars, LETS, local currencies

-  Legal structures and ownership

-  Resource consents procedure

-  Conflict resolution

Alternative building, design/materials   Retrofitting a building, greywater, compost toilets and recycling materials  Day 1 Explore some examples of alternativedesign/materials-  Low impact, passive solar-  Materials such as local timber, straw, earth, cob,hemp-  Clay testing

-  Turf roofs

-  Hands-on workshop on building a garden wall with clay and straw (cob), strawbale, bottles and recycled materials (P)

Day 2

-  Rural priorities – water, power, driveway

-  Property infrastructure design and costings

-  Embodied energy

-  Retrofitting an old home – having a more comfortable environment to live in

-  Insulation – reducing heat and energy costs

-  Pros and cons of recycling old materials

-  Greywater, blackwater, reed beds, and composting toilet systems for a number of budgets

-  Tour around buildings, compost toilet systems, grey and blackwater systems, looking at efficient material use, recycled materials, and costings

MODULE 2 Soil improvement   
Garden design systems    
 Day 1– Visual soil assessment, own soil assessment (P)- pH testing, soil texture/structure, additives

-  How the soil foodweb works

-  Maintain and use a worm farm

-  Make liquid fertilizers and compost tea (P)

-  Recipes for organic sprays against pests and diseases

-  An introduction to biodynamics

-  How to use the moon planting calendar (P)


Day 2

-  Bio-intensive growing

-  Double digging (P)

-  Green manure and carbon crops

-  Crop rotation

-  Seed saving and making seed mix (P)

-  How to build a carbon rich compost


Forestry, and orchard design     Structural garden design  








 Day 1-  Forestry:-  coppicing, timber, firewood-  plantation management-  charcoal production-  Orchard design – preparation, tree selection and root stocks-  Plant training systems

-  espaliering, fans, cordons, step overs, apple arches

-  Attracting insects, bees and birds

-  Companion planting

-  Plant guilds

-  Appropriate tools


Day 2

Designing for the elements/climate

-  sun, shade, water, frost, snow

-  shelterbelts, windbreaks, microclimates

-  Design systems – strategies and techniques

-  keyhole gardens, mandalas, raised beds, no dig beds, pottagers, containers, spirals and circles (P)

-  Sheet mulching, garden bed building, mulching (P)

-  Permanent structures

-  Protection of crops and crop supports (P)

-  Plastic house design – creating thermal mass and heating





Permaculture Design Project  Day 1– Draw up a concept design for a project eitherindividually or as a group using the permacultureknowledge and design skills gained during thecourse (P)            -  This can be for your own property, a property of your choice, or a property of someone else in the permaculture group


Day 2

– Create a sector analysis, a zone plan and then final design for your project

-  Present your project to the group and answer questions on its planning, design and proposed implementation. (P)


This design and presentation is the conclusion to the course and enables you to receive your Certificate in Permaculture.



 (P)- Practical element to the day

 -  Detailed course notes are produced for each day of the course, although you may wish to take 

     additional notes especially during the open questions sessions which are actively encouraged.



 To gain your New Zealand Certificate in Permaculture, you need to complete module 1 and module 9 and at least 6 of the 7 remaining modules.


Cost of whole course

Cost per module

Cost per day

Sign up and pay for the course in advance



$  72.00

Sign up for the course and pay per module



$  83.00

Pay per module*



$  90.00

Pay per day of module*




Partner/friend’s options (2 people signing up together)
Sign up and pay for the course in advance $2,400 $267 $ 133.00
Sign up for the course and pay per module $2,700 $300 $ 150.00
Pay per module* $2,880 $320 $ 160.00

* These options are for people who are interested in certain subjects of the permaculture course, but do not

     want to take  the whole qualification.

****************  Reduced rate for partners who want to take the course with you ******************

Course costs include morning and afternoon tea and drinks all day.   They don’t include lunch, which can be a pot luck shared dish.

Payment can be made via online banking, cheque or cash.  Please ring/email in the first instance to secure your place –, 0211252035.

 Full details and directions will be sent out before the start of the course.



Dee Turner

Originally from North Wales, she moved to New Zealand in 2003.  She has been gardening and teaching for 20 years, and is passionate about growing storing and eating great food, and teaching others how to do it.   She has  qualifications in permaculture, biodynamics and organic horticulture as well as teaching qualifications.

John Earney

John has a life long involvement in livestock, food production and self reliance.  His childhood was spent in the west country of the UK where he fished and hunted as well as wild harvesting  nuts, fungus and other foodstuffs.

Avonstour has been established for over 20 years, and  is set up for the preservation of heritage livestock, plants and skills.  He has farmed at the present site for 12 years, farming all types of heritage rare breed animals.  His is the true mixed farm – diversity is the key to what he does.  On top of this and in conjunction with other organizations, he is developing breeds and strains that are suited to sustainable organic farming.

He has been running his own farms and teaching for many years based on rural skills and in-depth practical knowledge of farming.  He has been senior tutor of land based courses, run courses for Agriculture New Zealand and animal and self-reliance workshops at his own farm which have proved very popular.

Ruth Cohen

Ruth’s mission is to reconnect people with food, their bodies and the earth. To see as many people as she can share in the joy of growing, cooking, sharing and eating food essentially: thriving.  She is achieving this through practical education in nutrition, cooking, food sourcing and sustainable household practices, from field to table and beyond.

Her love of food and fascination with natural science led Ruth to study nutrition at the University of TorontoWhen arriving in New Zealand in early 2006, Ruth started studying Permaculture, exploring growing food and shared her knowledge where ever she went.  Upon deciding to settle in Aotearoa, Ruth set out to combine all her knowledge, experience and passion into a business.  Ruth provides private consultations and cooking lessons, in addition to general courses in cooking and healthy eating, she educates people how to live a life that nurtures them and allows their bodies to Thrive.

Kama Burwell

Kama is an ecological engineer, designer, and consultant. She is also manager at Hive Environment Centre, working across sectors to facilitate systemic change.

Kama has been teaching Permaculture for many years. In 2009, life took an interesting turn when she travelled to China, studying traditional asia-pacific watershed management and farming systems (called terraquaculture).

Seeing the water dragon in action has had a major impact on her work. Upon returning, she trialed terraquaculture strategies on her families’ farm, has published several articles, and has presented numerous times about this multi-disciplinary approach to water, landscape, culture, farming, and sustainability. You can see more at