Attending a graduation ceremony

If you are graduating with a National New Zealand Diploma, Open Polytechnic Diploma or Degree, you can receive your award at a graduation ceremony.

To attend a graduation ceremony your application form must be received by the 28th February each year. We will send you more information about the graduation ceremony in March/April.

Dates and venue details for 2016

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

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 

The graduation ceremony starts at 4.30pm and is approximately 90 minutes long. Refreshments will be available for you and your guests following the ceremony.

You need to be at the venue from 2.00pm and be dressed in your graduation regalia no later than 3.00pm (see regalia information below). 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 will start with a powhiri and karakia (blessing), and some short welcome speeches.

When it is your turn to receive your award, staff will ask your row to stand and you will be led to the stairs to the left of the stage. A final name check will be carried out to make sure you are in order before going on to the stage. You need to have your hands free to receive your award, so leave handbags, etc. with your invited guests.

All graduands must remain seated with their qualification group until the conclusion of the ceremony. As a sign of respect for all students who are graduating all 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

Graduands must wear academic regalia at the graduation ceremony. This is hired through the Open Polytechnic and costs:

  • $35.00 for diploma graduands*
  • $50.00 for graduate diploma graduands
  • $60.00 for degree graduands.

*If you have achieved a degree or higher qualification and would like this recognised you can choose to wear graduate diploma regalia.

We will send you a graduation ceremony requirements form to complete and return with your measurements and payment details. Regalia is not available to graduands prior to or after the graduation ceremony, and you cannot leave the venue grounds wearing regalia.

On graduation day

On graduation day staff will assist you with your regalia. The gowning area will be well signposted.

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.

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

Returning regalia

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.

Regalia Colours


Black gown with a blue and teal sash.

Graduate Diplomas

Black gown with a blue, teal and gold sash and trencher.


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.

If you are no longer able to attend the ceremony

If you find you are no longer able to attend the graduation ceremony contact Academic Registry by emailing or on freephone 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 you must let us know as soon as possible.

Guest passes and seating

You may bring up to eight guests (subject to venue capacity) to your graduation. Guest passes will be provided (you will not need a pass). If you have a special request for more guest passes you can specify this using the graduation requirements form. Additional guest passes will not be confirmed until all graduate applications have been finalised.

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.

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.

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.

Photographer contact information:



Auckland -  

Live stream video

We will live stream each of the graduation ceremonies so that any family and friends who are unable to attend can watch the ceremony online. A video will also be available to view after the event, along with previous ceremonies on the live stream page.

Outstanding fees 

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

Need help?

If you have any questions about applying to graduate or attending a graduation ceremony email or contact Academic Registry on freephone 0508 650 200.

Related information

Graduation live stream

Applying to graduate

Get your academic transcript