Te Rā Whakawhiwhi Tohu Graduation

Spring Graduation Ceremony - update 22 May 2020

Due to the on-going uncertainty over COVID-19 alert levels, we haven’t been able to finalise details for a graduation ceremony in September. However, we're working on various options because we want to ensure that graduating students can celebrate their achievements.

We hope to be able provide a further update in the next two to three weeks and we'll post an update here as soon as we can. Once the plans are confirmed, we'll be in touch with all eligible students, including those who missed out on the March ceremony and who've indicated their desire to graduate in September.

Cancellation of Graduation Ceremony, 27 March 2020

In order to limit the spread of COVID-19, our autumn graduation on 27 March 2020 has been cancelled. This decision was made following advice from the New Zealand Government relating to large scale events.

We appreciate that this news is hugely disappointing to graduands, their family, friends and staff. However, your health and wellbeing - and that of our whole community – must take top priority.

We are considering several options for refunds, qualification distribution and a possible alternative graduation event in the future. We hope to have more information available within the week – please check here again for an update.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ara holds four graduation ceremonies a year.

For the Southern Campuses the ceremony is held in mid February. As part of the graduation celebration there is a street parade for staff and graduands at 11.00am through the centre of Timaru followed by the graduation ceremony at the Southern Trust Events Centre at 2.00pm.

For the Christchurch campuses there are three ceremonies – two in March and one in September.

The two graduation ceremonies in March are for the following Departments:

A morning ceremony for Trades, Humanities, Science and Primary Industries, Engineering & Architectural Studies, Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Departments.

An afternoon ceremony for Computing, Creative Industries, Business and Hospitality and Service Industries Departments.

The September graduation is for all Departments.

The auditorium in the Christchurch Town Hall will be the venue for the March 2020 ceremonies. The ceremonies will be preceded by street parades from the Arts Centre to the Town Hall.

Graduation guides

There are separate Graduation guides for Christchurch and Timaru; these provide all the information you need about your ceremony, including how to apply to graduate, the cost of regalia hire, venue details, guest tickets.

Graduation regalia

As part of the formal graduation ceremony you are required to wear Ara regalia.

This can be hired, through Ara from the Graduate Women Canterbury. The regalia items, the cost of hiring them, how to order them and where and when to collect them are all outlined in the graduation guide. A $20 deposit, refundable on return of the regalia, is included in the price.

You will be responsible for the full cost of the replacement of the regalia if not returned. The cost of the gown will be $528, hood $165, trencher $95 and scarf $95.

Dates of future ceremonies:

Christchurch Graduations

March 27 2020
September 18 2020
March 26 2021
September 17 2021
March 25 2022
September 16 2022
March 31 2023
September 15 2023

Timaru Graduations

February 13 2020
February 18 2021
February 17 2022
February 16 2023
February 15 2024

Online streaming

If your friends or family are unable to attend your graduation, our graduation ceremonies for Christchurch are all streamed live on the Ara website on the day.

Online Payments

Online Payments are processed through the secure DPS Payment Express system. Any credit card details stored for payments are done so on the DPS system. No credit card information is stored by us and Payment Express protects personal information – at a minimum – to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (“PCI-DSS”).