Attending a graduation ceremony


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


Due date to apply to graduate

On this page:


Dates and venue details

 Graduation 2023

See below for the updated ceremony dates. 

  • Christchurch - Wednesday 3 May, 3.30pm,  Air Force Museum, 45 Harvard Avenue, Wigram
  • Auckland - Thursday 18 May, 3.30pm, Sir Woolf Fisher Arena, Due Drop Events Centre, 770 Great South Road, Wiri Manukau
  • Wellington - Thursday 25 May, 3.30pm, Michael Fowler Centre, 111 Wakefield Street


The Graduation Ceremony

The graduation ceremony will start at 3.30pm. Refreshments will be available for you and your guests after the ceremony.


Before the ceremony

The gowning room will be open between 1.00pm – 2.30pm. You need to arrive at the venue promptly to be dressed in your regalia in time for processional instructions at 3.00pm.  

At 3.00pm, all graduands will line up in qualification groups, in alphabetical order by surname.  A check of names will be completed before you are led into the venue to your allocated seating.

During the ceremony

The ceremony will begin with a pōwhiri 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 done 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, cellphones etc. with your guests.

Official photographer

An official photographer will be present to photograph you on stage as you receive your award. Studio style photograph set-ups will also be available for you and your family before and after the ceremony.

Details of how to order prints will be posted on our website after each event.

Auckland Graduation 2022

Studio Portraits Store: 





Christchurch Graduation 2022

All photos:



Wellington Graduation 2022

All photos:


Note: you will need to enter an email to view these photos. 


After you get your award

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

At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates will be led 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. Fees for graduation regalia:

  • $40.00 for diploma graduands*
  • $50.00 for graduate diploma graduands
  • $65.00 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 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, white fur trimmed hood lined with relevant degree colour and trencher.

Hood colours:

  • 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 Information Technology - Pansy
  • Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) – Post Office Red
  • Bachelor of Social Work – Emerald
  • Bachelor of  Social Health and Wellbeing - Fuchsia
  • Bachelor of Library and Information Studies - Royal Purple


If you are no longer able to attend the ceremony

If you find you can not attend the graduation ceremony, contact Academic Registry:

If you notify us that you can not attend 10 working days before the ceremony you will get a full refund for hiring regalia.

If on the ceremony day you find you are unable to attend you must let us know as soon as possible by contacting our customer services team:

  • Freephone 0508 650 200.




Number of guest passes

Each graduate can receive up to 8 guest passes. If you require additional guest passes there is an option to request these on the graduation requirements form.

Guests need to bring along their tickets to gain entry. Guests must be seated 30 minutes prior to the start of the ceremony and there are no allocated or reserved seating for guests at our venues.


Special assistance at a graduation ceremony

Please advise us as early as possible if you or your guests have any special requirements. For example, using a wheelchair; are sight or hearing impaired or have any other medical condition that requires special arrangements.


Live stream video

We live stream all of the graduation ceremonies so that any family and friends from wherever they are across New Zealand or the world can tune in online. A video will also be available to view after the event.

By attending our graduation ceremony you are agreeing that we have your permission to film you and include you in any broadcast by the Open Polytechnic for live web streaming purposes.


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 contact our Academic Registry:

Related information

Graduation live stream

Applying to graduate



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