Graduation ceremony: venue and format

You'll 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 will 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 – 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 45 minutes before your ceremony starts. Allow plenty of extra time to find parking or to walk to the Aotea Centre.

If you arrive at or after the door closing time, you may not be able to participate in the ceremony.

When you arrive:

  • If you arrive with your guests, they should go to levels 2-5 to find seats
  • Leave your phone, bag, flowers and other belongings with your guests or check them in at the cloak room on Level 2 (you can’t take them on stage with you)
  • Be ready for the one and a half to 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 registration and assembly area on Level 1 of the Aotea Centre 30 minutes before the door closing time for your ceremony

Register outside the assembly area

Only registered graduands are allowed in the assembly area, on Level 1 of the Aotea Centre. Your guests should go to levels 2-5 to find seats.

You must:

  • Be at the registration and assembly area on Level 1 of the Aotea Centre at least 30 minutes before the door closing time for your ceremony
  • Register so that we can confirm your attendance and allow you access to the assembly area
  • 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
  • If you still have your phone with you, please ensure it 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 enter the auditorium.

We’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 hold a ceremonial trencher either over your head or your shoulder (depending upon the qualification being granted). Due to COVID-19, there will be no handshakes or other physical contact on stage.
  • At this point, you may place your trencher on your head
  • Walk along the carpet to the Vice-Chancellor where you’ll receive your parchment
  • 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

Student FAQs

Arrival and registration times

  • Arrive at venue at least 45 minutes before ceremony starts
  • Registration opens 45 minutes before ceremony starts
  • Doors close 15 minutes before ceremony starts
  • Ceremony takes one and a half to two hours

Graduation dates and times

Dressing for your ceremony

Make sure you wear the correct academic dress – check our information about regalia colours and items.

Academic dress

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