Attending a graduation ceremony

Our graduation ceremonies are held in May each year in Christchurch, Wellington, and Auckland.

Dates and venue details for 2016

Christchurch - Wednesday 4 May - 4.30pm

Air Force Museum
45 Harvard Avenue

Wellington - Tuesday 10 May - 4.30pm

Michael Fowler Centre
111 Wakefield Street

Auckland - Thursday 19 May - 4.30pm

Sir Woolf Fisher Arena
Vodafone Events Centre
770 Great South Road
Wiri, Manukau

Videos of previous graduation ceremonies

You can view videos of previous graduation ceremonies via our Graduation Live Stream page

The Graduation Ceremony 

Each graduation ceremony is approximately 90 minutes long and is followed by refreshments for you and your guests.

The ceremony commences at 4.30pm and graduands need to be at the venue no later than 2.00pm.

Before the start of the ceremony all graduands will be lined up in alphabetical order by surname, within each qualification. A check of names will be carried out before you are led into the venue to your allocated seat. 

The ceremony commences with a powhiri and karakia (blessing) with short speeches of welcome. There will then be a guest speaker, who is followed by the presentation of qualifications.

When it is your turn to receive your award, staff will direct your row to stand and you will be led to the stairs on the left of the stage. A final name check will be carried out to ensure you are in order before you go on to the stage.

When your name is called, proceed to the top of the stairs and cross the stage to meet the Chief Executive. You shake hands, receive your qualification, and then pause with the Chief Executive to have your photograph taken. You then exit the stage from the stairs on the right. Staff will meet you as you exit the stage, gather your row together and lead you back to your seat. 

You need to have your hands free when on stage, so please ensure you leave handbags, etc. with your invited guests.

There are special instructions for degree graduands. When you reach the stage you carry your trencher (cap) in your left hand. You will then be greeted by the Council Chair who will ceremoniously ‘cap’ you. You shake hands and receive your qualification, then pause for a photograph before exiting the stage. When all graduands for your qualification have exited the stage, staff will lead you to stand in front of the stage, where the Council Chair will formally confer your qualification. You are now a graduate, and can acknowledge your achievement with the audience by waving or throwing your trencher. You will then be led back to your seat.

As a sign of respect for all students who are graduating, please make sure that you and your guests remain seated until the end of the ceremony.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates will be lead out of the venue, while guests remain seated.

Graduation Regalia

You will wear academic regalia at the graduation ceremony, which is hired from the Open Polytechnic. We will send you a graduation ceremony requirements form to complete and return with your measurements and payment details.

You will need to arrive at the venue for the ceremony by 2.00 pm where staff will assist you with your regalia. The gowning area will be well signposted. Regalia is not available to graduands prior to or after the graduation ceremony.

Please be aware that the temperature in the venue could be warm, especially when wearing regalia. You can leave jackets etc. in the gowning room for collection when returning your regalia.

Regalia hire fees are: $35.00 for diploma graduands; $60.00 for degree graduands.

If you are graduating with a diploma but hold a degree either from Open Polytechnic or another institution you have the option of wearing degree or diploma regalia. If you choose to wear degree regalia, you will be seated with your diploma qualification graduands, but you will be wearing your degree regalia and your trencher.

You are welcome to wear cultural dress or other cultural decoration, for example korowai, lei. These are worn over your black gown and under your hood; a sari would be worn underneath.

All regalia must be returned to the gowning room before you leave the venue. If the regalia is not returned at the end of the graduation ceremony you will be held liable for the cost of full replacement.

After advising your attendance, if you can no longer attend a graduation ceremony, please contact Academic Registry by emailing or on free phone 0508 650 200 as soon as possible. A full refund for hiring of regalia will be made if notification of your non-attendance is received at least 10 working days prior to the ceremony.

If on the ceremony day you find you are unable to attend, it is vital you let us know as soon as possible.

Regalia Colours


Black gown with blue and teal sash.


Black gown and white fur trimmed hood lined with relevant degree colours as below.

Bachelor of Applied Management – Marigold.

Bachelor of Applied Science – Adonis Blue.

Bachelor of Arts - Orchid Pink.

Bachelor of Business – Old Gold.

Bachelor of Engineering Technology - Claret.

Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) – Post Office Red.

Bachelor of Social Work – Emerald.

Guest passes

You may bring up to eight guests (subject to venue capacity) and guest passes will be provided. Graduands do not require a pass for themselves. If you have a special request for more guest passes you can specify this on the graduation requirements form. Additional guest passes will not be confirmed until all applications have been finalised.

Guest seating

There is no allocated or reserved seating for guests at our venues. Guests need to be seated 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony.

Official photographer

An official photographer will be present to photograph you as you are congratulated on stage.

Studio style photograph set-ups will also be available for you and your family before and/or after the ceremony.

Live stream video

We will be live streaming a video of each of the graduation ceremonies, so any family and friends who are unable to attend can watch the ceremony live, from anywhere with internet access. A video will also be available to view after the event. For more information, see our live stream webpage.

Special assistance at a graduation ceremony

Please advise us as early as possible if you or your guests have any special requirements relating to disability access – for example, a wheelchair; seating for sight or hearing impairment.

Outstanding fees 

All Open Polytechnic fees will need to be cleared before you are able to graduate.


For all enquiries about graduation, please contact us by emailing or on freephone 0508 650 200.