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 need assistance on the day

If you 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  well before the day of your graduation.

Contact the Student Hub

Celebrating before or after the ceremony

We encourage you to celebrate with family and friends on the day of your graduation, but do remember the following when making any bookings with restaurants etc:

  • You must be at Spark Arena no later than 30 minutes before the advised door closing time for the ceremony so that you can register your attendance. Please don't be late.
  • The average ceremony length is one and a half to two hours; however, you should allow at least three hours overall when making any post-ceremony bookings. This longer time includes registration before the ceremony, the procession into the auditorium before the ceremony, and exiting the venue after the ceremony.

Accommodation before or after the ceremony

If you are from outside Auckland and plan to stay overnight either before or after your ceremony, the website has plenty of accommodation options.

Visit Auckland NZ website

On the day of your graduation ceremony

Arrive early

You should arrive at Spark Arena, wearing academic regalia, at least 30 minutes before the advised door closing time for the ceremony. Please don't be late.

If you are coming by car, allow plenty of extra travel time so that you can find parking and walk to the Arena, particularly if your ceremony is in the morning or late afternoon. Rush hour traffic can seriously impact travel times. Information about transport options and parking near the venue can be found here.

Find out about parking at Spark Arena

When you arrive

  • If you arrive with your guests, make sure they’re ready to be seated in the auditorium
  • Leave your bag, flowers and other belongings with your guests (you can’t take them on stage with you)
  • Go to the registration area on the plaza outside the Arena at least 30 minutes before the advised door closing time for the ceremony
  • Be ready for the ceremony of up to two hours duration when you enter the assembly area (you may want to go to the bathroom or check your appearance etc)

Academic dress: what to wear on graduation day

Register outside the assembly area

Only registered graduands are allowed in the assembly area.

You must:

  • Be at the plaza area outside the Arena at least 30 minutes before the advised door closing time for the 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
  • 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 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 graduation 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)
  • At this point, you may place your trencher on your head
  • Walk along the carpet to the parchment table on the far side of the stage where you’ll receive your parchment from the marshal
  • 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)
  • Don't leave the ceremony before it has finished. Doing so is very disrespectful to your fellow graduates and the graduate speaker

The ceremony finishes with the valedictory speech given by a graduate on behalf of all graduates and a congratulatory speech by the Chancellor. The national anthem is sung.

Graduation tickets and memorabilia

Arrival and registration times

  • Arrive at the venue at least 30 minutes before the advised door closing time
  • Registration opens 30 minutes before the advised door closing time
  • Doors close 15 minutes before the ceremony officially starts
  • Ceremonies vary in length, but generally take 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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