On the day


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Graduation ceremonies are formal celebrations with a long history and traditional structure. Here's what to expect on the day.


Graduands should congregate in Market Square at the Arts Centre no later than 8.45am (morning ceremonies), 12.45pm (afternoon ceremonies) or in Victoria Square, corner of Armagh and Colombo Streets, no later than 5.00pm (evening ceremony) where marshals will mark you off and line you up.

Following an address by the Chief Marshal, graduands will move off in procession into Worchester Boulevard and proceed to the Town Hall via Oxford Terrace and Victoria Square.

Graduands will process into the Auditorium and to their seats, where they sit down, still wearing their trenchers. Academic staff will then proceed into the auditorium.

Graduand guests/ticket holders

The auditorium doors will open at 9am (morning ceremonies), 1pm (afternoon ceremonies) and 5pm (evening ceremony), and graduands' guests/ticket holders need to be seated by 9.20am, 1.20pm or 5.20pm.  Should there be available seats in the auditorium, guests without tickets will be permitted in at 9.40am, 1.40pm or 5.40pm. No one will be let in whilst the stage party and graduands are processing in and on to the stage, or during the National Anthem.

Note: Please respect your fellow graduands and their guests. Do not leave the auditorium during the ceremony.

The ceremony procedure follows a set format.

The Procession

  • Graduands will process into the Auditorium and to their seats. You will sit down, still wearing your trencher.
  • Graduands will rise when the fanfare is sounded for the Academic Procession.

When the ceremony starts

  • When you take your seat again, remove your trencher (it is not replaced until after your degree has been conferred)
  • The academic procession will be followed by a karanga and mihi.
  • The Chancellor will then convene the ceremony for the conferment of degrees.
  • Degrees are presented singly in the order in the programme. If you are carrying a posy leave it on the chair before walking to the stage.

When your name is called

  1. Walk across the stage to the Chancellor, take the testamur offered to you and don your trencher;
  2. Continue down the steps at the centre of the stage;
  3. Return to your seat.
  • During the ceremony there will be a musical performance.
  • After the presentations are completed, a speaker will address the audience.
  • Please stand to sing Gaudeamus then remain standing as the Academic party leaves the Auditorium.

After the ceremony

  • Once the academic party is clear of the stage the marshals will indicate for you to follow out into the foyer.

Manu tiria will be sung following the Mihi, the words of which will also be printed in the graduation programme.

(Kaea)  Manu tiria
(Katoa) Manu tiria

Manu werohia ki te poho o Te Raka
Ka tau rērere
Ka tau mai i te Ruhi
E tau e kōia

(Kaea)  Kōia
(Katoa) kōia, ko Tararauriki

Kī mai Māui
Ehara i te Whitu me te Waru e
E tau e kōia, kōia!

*Kaea = Leader
  Katoa = All

This song talks about when to plant kūmara (Ruhi, or during January) and when not to plant kūmara (Whitu and Waru or November and December). It also relates to the story of Māui changing into a kererū and following his father into the underworld.

The ceremony will close with the singing of Gaudeamus.

Gaudeamus igitur juvenes dum sumus,
Gaudeamus igitur juvenes dum sumus,
Post jucundam juventutem, post molestam senectutem,
Nos habebit humus, nos habebit humus.

Vivat Academia, vivant professores!
Vivat Academia, vivant professores!
Vivat membrum quodlibet, vivant membra quaelibet,
Semper sint in flore! Semper sint in flore!

Let us rejoice then while we are young;
When sweet youth’s past and crabbed age is done,
The grave will have us, everyone.

Long live the University, long live the staff!
Long live each one, of whatever degree!
May they ever so flourishing be!

All graduands are guaranteed three guest tickets. Graduands do not need a ticket for themselves. Guest tickets will be available via our electronic ticketing platform the week before the ceremonies. Graduands will be sent an email with their procession place card and a link to the ticketing platform where they will be required to add the details for their guests. If there are extra tickets available graduands will be advised via email the week of the ceremonies. We are not always able to provide everyone with the full number of tickets they hope for however the ceremonies will be live streamed into the James Hay theatre, adjacent to the Auditorium. Ceremonies will also be live streamed on the University Facebook page and YouTube channel. Additional guests and members of the public are welcome to enjoy the ceremony from here.

If you have a disability for which specific arrangements are required, please inform the Graduation Office by emailing melanie.coulter@canterbury.ac.nz

If your guests have a disability or require specific seating arrangements, please get in contact with staff at the Town Hall.

Please note that the processions and ceremonies are filmed and photographed, and this footage is publicly accessible by means of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Linton Photography.