Graduation ceremony: venue and format

You will be more prepared for your graduation ceremony if you know what to expect on the day. The format is the same for all graduation ceremonies.

Before your graduation day

If you’ll need help on graduation day – for example, you can’t walk up the stairs to the stage, or if you need special seating at the ceremony – please contact the Student Hub as soon as possible before the day.

Contact the Student Hub

On the day of your graduation ceremony

Arrive early

You should arrive at the Aotea Centre, wearing academic regalia, at least 30 minutes before the ceremony.

When you arrive:

  • If you arrive with your guests, make sure they’re ready to be seated in the auditorium
  • Leave your phone, bag, flowers and other belongings with them (you can’t take them on stage with you)
  • Be ready for the two-hour ceremony before you go to the assembly area (you may want to go to the bathroom or check your appearance etc)
  • Go to the assembly area 30 minutes before the start of the ceremony

Academic dress: what to wear on graduation day

Register at the assembly area

Only graduands (and staff) are allowed in the assembly area.

You must:

  • Be at the assembly area 30 minutes before the ceremony starts
  • Register so that we can confirm your attendance
  • Line up in order as directed by staff – we’ll check that you’re wearing the right academic regalia and names will be checked again
  • Make sure your phone is in your pocket and on silent before you leave the assembly area

Inside the auditorium (ceremony venue)

All officials and guests will be seated before you’ll enter the auditorium.

You’ll follow this format as you enter the auditorium and take part in the ceremony:

  • At the karanga (call), you will start filing into the auditorium
  • You should move quickly and quietly, and stay standing until told to sit – a marshal will supervise you in a group to your seating row
  • Enjoy the ceremony and be ready for your time on stage
  • When it is time, a marshal will direct you to stand and file in order to the right-hand side of the stage, where there will be a final check of names

On the stage

If you’re receiving a degree, keep your trencher tucked under your left arm with the tassel to the front.

When your name is called:

  • Walk directly to the Chancellor, who will be standing in the centre of the stage
  • The Chancellor will shake your right hand and hold a ceremonial trencher either over your head or your shoulder (depending upon the qualification being granted)
  • Move straight to the Vice-Chancellor, who will also shake your right hand and then present you with your degree/diploma/certificate – take this in your left hand
  • At this point, you may place your trencher on your head
  • Move directly off the stage, where marshals will direct you back to your seat (it may be a different seat to the one you sat in originally)

The ceremony finishes with the valedictory speech given by a graduate and a congratulatory speech by the Chancellor. The national anthem is sung.

Graduation tickets and memorabilia

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