Te Rā Whakawhiwhi Tohu Graduation

Graduation at Ara

Ara holds two graduation ceremonies a year, one in March and one in September. See 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.

You can view our most recent Spring graduation on Vimeo.

Graduation guide

If you choose to attend the Graduation Ceremony, please read the Graduation Guide (PDF: 5 MB) which outlines all the ceremony information regarding regalia, assembly, procession and tickets. You are required to wear the regalia appropriate to your qualification. 

Graduation regalia

Gowns can be hired from the Federation of Graduate Women on your behalf. You will receive details with your graduation forms as to the regalia, the hiring cost, details of the day, time and place to pick up and return the regalia.

See Graduation Regalia for further information.

Qualification completion request

If you will be completing your qualification at the end of your current study period, then you will be required to fill out the Qualification completion request form.

Once you've filled out the required fields, please either return in person to Department of Support Staff or the Results Office (Room X111), or email to results@ara.ac.nz.

Application to graduate

If you are eligible to graduate you will be posted an application form by Ara's Central Academic Records office.

Please fill the form in with your details and indicate whether you wish to have your qualification awarded at the Graduation Ceremony or in absentia (not at the ceremony) and return to Central Academic Records in the supplied paid envelope.

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

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.

At this point your personal details are entered onto the graduation database ready for publishing in the programme for the day.

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 Hitesh Sharma on (03) 940 8542 nearer the date. In the case of anyone whose communication is by NZ Sign Language, early notification would allow for the appointment of an interpreter to attend the ceremony.


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.