Te Rā Whakawhiwhi Tohu Graduation

Graduation image

Graduation at Ara

View the September 2016 Graduation video here.

Ara holds three graduation ceremonies a year, two in March and one in September. See our ceremony dates for more information.

Graduation is a celebration of your academic achievement which can be shared with family, friends, fellow students and the whole Ara community.

Students are entitled to attend a Graduation ceremony when they successfully complete an approved programme of study at or above Level 4, whether the qualification is a certificate, diploma or degree.

Some qualifications below Level 4 may also be awarded at a Graduation ceremony.

How to graduate

To graduate from Ara Institute of Canterbury you will:

  • Receive a letter advising you If you're eligible to graduate

If you choose to attend graduation in person, the ceremony will be held at the Horncastle Arena in Addington.

You will be able to access our online graduation form to register for our Christchurch ceromonies soon.

Note. If you cannot remember your student portal username and password then you will need to contact the ICT Service Desk at 03 940 8800 or ictservicedesk@ara.ac.nz

Graduation guide

If you choose to attend the Graduation Ceremony, please read the Graduation Guide which outlines all the ceremony information regarding regalia, assembly, procession and tickets. You are required to wear the regalia appropriate to your qualification. We will be releasing our 2017 Graduation Guides for Timaru and Christchurch graduations shortly.

Graduation regalia

See Graduation Regalia for more information about your gown, scarf or hood.

Graduating in absentia

If you request to graduate in absentia, your qualification document will be mailed to you or held for you to collect after the graduation ceremony date from the Central Academic Records office situated in N block, room N118.

You will need to bring proof of identity when collecting your qualification, e.g. your student ID card or driver's license.

Online streaming

If your friends or family are unable to attend your graduation, our graduation ceremonies are all streamed live on the Ara website on the day. Please see our graduation live streaming requirements for technical information.


When we receive your forms indicating your graduation choice, we will send you a letter confirming that we have received your application.

Guest tickets

Up to five tickets, if requested, are sent with your graduation guide for your guests. These are issued on a 'first come, best seated basis'. There are no reserved seat numbers. You will be given the opportunity to request extra tickets. Extra tickets requested will be posted if available approximately two weeks before the ceremony.

Special needs

If you or any of your guests have special mobility or access needs, please let us know either on your application form or by contacting us on (03) 940 8542  or graduation@ara.ac.nz nearer the date.

If you or any of your guests communicate by NZ Sign Language, please let us know early so we can arrange for an interpreter to be on stage during the ceremony by phoning 03 940 8542 or email graduation@ara.ac.nz.


A photographer will be at the ceremony. Every graduate will be photographed as they are presented with their award on stage. These photographs are available for purchase as either prints and/or digital files. Prints are prices from $17.50, digital files from $25. Presentation Photographs may be ordered at the venue on Graduation Day or after graduation online or by mail, phone or fax. See Linton Photography's website for more details.

Further questions?

If you have any further questions about applications to graduate, qualification queries or regalia, please email graduation@ara.ac.nz.