Thriving by Nature - PDC


'Thriving By Nature' is a modular course for anyone wanting to live more harmoniously with natural and social systems. Using sustainability principles and permaculture design, the course offers participants an opportunity to learn how to create more socially just and ecologically regenerative lifestyles. 

The course is 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, including in our homes and gardens, communities, social systems, and wider global concepts. 

This course is a recognised Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC), which is the foundation qualification for permaculture studies. This PDC will be particularly useful for people interested in social and urban applications of permaculture.

Course Composition

This course is run as 12 one-day workshops, over one year, plus a final project presentation and celebration day. The modules are run as full day workshops, with a variety of tutors and guest speakers. 

The course is based around group learning in safe and inspiring environments, with a mix of classroom learning and field trips. You will have a mentor to support you through the course and assessments, and a workbook of module notes, further references, exercises, and your own learning reflections.

Assessment for the course will be through reflective journals, plus development of a design project which students will be supported by the course mentors to develop during the course.

Payment options

Option 1: Single payment for the full 12 module course, including workbook, personal mentoring and assessment - $1200 (incl. GST).

Option 2: Multiple Payments for full 12 module course (as above) = $230 deposit, plus 11 monthly payments of $90, paid by Direct Debit (note, this option includes a small administration fee).

Not quite ready to commit to the full course, or want to try it out first? You can attend individual workshops without enrolling for the whole course, for $109 (incl GST) per module. Individual workshop registration excludes workbook, mentoring, assessment and Permaculture in New Zealand (PINZ) membership; but you can upgrade to the full course enrollment at a later date).

Workshop Modules

Permaculture Principles (6 August 2017) 

An introduction to permaculture, including its history, ethics, purposes and applications. Permaculture offers design principles inspired by and harmonious with natural systems. 

Permaculture Design Process (3 Sept. 2017)

Building on the permaculture principles, we explore the design processes for developing permaculture systems and how to apply it. Our PDC will be especially useful for people interested in social and urban applications of permaculture. 

Ecological Worldviews (1 Oct. 2017)

Understanding human/nature relationships and how we value our environments is fundamental to sustainability. We will explore diferent indigenous, Western and other worldviews, and how these can influence the impact of our lifestyles on ecological and social systems. 

Energy Solutions (29 Oct. 2017)

Most modern systems which we rely on (food, health, transport, etc.) are energy intensive and require large resource inputs. This workshop explores alternative technologies & energy consumption options, so that we can produce and use energy resources more sustainably. 

Social Economies (3 Dec. 2017)

This workshop offers an introduction to different economic systems. It identifies key aspects, including weaknesses of our current dominant economic system, and offers information about other options which may have a role to play in creating more equitable and sustainable societies, including complementary currencies, co-operatives, and non-conventional business models. 

Resilient Communities and Active Citizenship (21 Jan. 2018) 

A resilient community is one that is diverse, inclusive, healthy, and able to respond to changing conditions. This workshop explores different ways we can become active and engaged citizens, and create communities that are more equitable, self-sufficient and fun. 

Urban Design & Ecology (18 Feb. 2018)

From community resource sharing and public services, to infrastructure and transport systems that are sustainable and inclusive, this workshop explores the principles and practices underpinning sustainable cities, and how we as individuals and groups can help transform urban environments into ecologically and socially thriving spaces. 

Eco Home Design (11 March 2018)

This module considers ways to incorporate resource- and economically-efficient and low impact living into the design and construction of houses and other buildings. 

Healthy & Efficient Homes: Retrofits & Behaviours (8 April 2018) 

Especially in winter, poorly performing homes can impact our comfort and health, and that of our whānau. This workshop empowers people to create warm, healthy and resource efficient homes, regardless of budget. 

Sustainable Backyards (29 April 2018)

This workshop looks at how to create a garden that is productive, bio-diverse, useful and beautiful. By applying permaculture principles, optimising available space & resources, and taking local conditions and microclimates into consideration, even a small backyard can become productive enough to support a family, and a haven for wildlife. 

Urban Homesteading & Radical Home Economics (27 May 2018)

This module focuses on enabling the transition from urban consumers to urban producers. It is about making our home spaces more productive and self-sufficient, and offers opportunities to learn a variety of different skills aimed at localising one's community and self. Topics include: keeping productive animals; making food from scratch, and its effective storage; repairing tools, appliances and textile items; and more. 

Towards Zero Waste Living (17 June 2018)

Current consumption and waste management practices are unsustainable, contributing to numerous ecological and social issues within Aotearoa and globally. There is growing interest in minimising waste generation, consuming less, and living more sustainably. This workshop covers the principles, practices and challenges of zero waste living. 

Project sharing and celebration (15 July 2018)

This final, half-day session is an opportunity to celebrate completion of the course and share our learnings and projects with fellow students and family. 

Places are limited

Registration is required for attendance.

To register or find out more, get in touch with Tania on 07 839 4452 or


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