On the day: what to expect at graduation

Find out what to expect at your graduation ceremony – including when to arrive and register, how long ceremonies are, and what happens during your graduation ceremony. The format is the same for all graduation ceremonies.

Ceremony length

The average ceremony length is expected to be around 1½ to 2 hours; however, allow for up to 3 hours overall when making any post-ceremony bookings. This includes registration before the ceremony, the procession into the auditorium before the ceremony, and exiting the venue after the ceremony.

Celebrating before or after the ceremony?

Graduation is a great time to celebrate with family and friends, but do remember:

  • Be at the graduation venue no later than 30 minutes before the advised door closing time for your ceremony
  • This is important as you need to register your attendance – don't be late
  • Allow at least 3 hours for graduation

On the day: what to expect

You should arrive at the graduation venue, wearing academic regalia, at least 30 minutes before the advised door closing time for the ceremony. Don't be late.

What to wear at graduation

Need parking?

If you’re coming by car, allow plenty of extra travel time so that you can find parking and walk to the graduation venue. Rush hour traffic can seriously impact travel times.

Getting to Spark Arena

Getting to Aotea Centre

This is what you should do:

  • 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 at least 30 minutes before the advised door closing time for the ceremony
  • Be ready for the ceremony of up to 2 hours duration when you enter the assembly area (you may want to go to the bathroom or check your appearance before)

Register outside the assembly area

Only registered graduands are allowed in the assembly area.

You must:

  • Arrive 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

All officials and guests will be seated before you enter the auditorium.

Entering 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’s 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:

  1. Walk directly to the Chancellor, who will be standing in the centre of the stage
  2. The Chancellor will hold a ceremonial trencher either over your head or your shoulder (depending upon the qualification being granted)
  3. At this point, you may place your trencher on your head
  4. Walk along the carpet to the parchment table on the far side of the stage where you’ll receive your parchment from the marshal
  5. 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.

Watch: What to expect at graduation

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 – contact the graduation team well before the day of your graduation.

Email graduation@aut.ac.nz

Graduates at AUT

When to arrive and register

  • 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 1½ to 2 hours

Dressing for graduation

Make sure you wear the correct academic dress – check what you should wear at graduation and where to get it.

What to wear at graduation

Need accommodation before or after graduation?

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

Visit Auckland NZ website