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COVID-19 Update 6th September - Graduation Postponement

Following the ongoing cautious response to the Covid-19 Delta variant, including being in Alert Level 3 lockdown at this time, we’ve made the decision to postpone our 17th September Christchurch Graduation Ceremony. We’ve made this decision now to allow time for our graduands and guests to change travel plans.

The new date will be 22nd October 2021.

We can still only proceed under Alert Level 1 conditions, so if things change and Alert Levels rise, we will reassess the situation, and alter our plans with the safety of all learners and their families top of mind.

Here’s what you need to do:

a.       If you registered for the September Graduation and want to go the October ceremony: you don’t need to do anything; your registration is complete

b.       If you registered for September but don’t want to/can’t go in October: please let us know that you can’t make it by emailing us at: If you still want to graduate in person, you will be able to register for and attend any upcoming Graduation ceremony within the next 12 months. If under certain circumstances you need to graduate in absentia in September, we will courier your qualification to you. 

c.       If you weren’t registered to attend Graduation in September and were planning to graduate in absentia, but are now interested in going in October: All you need to do is register before Sept 24th –Please let us know by emailing: by 24 September.

d.       If you weren’t registered to go in September and are not planning to go in October either: You will graduate in 2021 in absentia, so please check your correct address and we’ll courier your qualification out to you. This can be done prior to the October Graduation if you require. Due to the special circumstances, you will be able to attend any upcoming Graduation ceremony within next 12 months.

If you’ve already ordered your regalia, please contact GWC to defer your order to 22nd October.

If you’d like to talk to someone about this, please call 0800 24 24 76, and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you might have.

Please continue to be vigilant with your own personal health and hygiene and stay home if you are not well. 

For any questions, please email or call 0800 24 24 76 to talk to someone.

Christchurch 2021 Spring Graduation
Friday 22 October
Christchurch Town Hall

If you are registering to attend the ceremony: We are closely monitoring the Covid-19 Alert Level requirements and for that reason recommend you make flexible travel arrangements. We’ll keep in touch. You can also visit

Applications for 2021 students to graduate in person open via the Ara Student portal in early August and close on 24 August 2021.

Late applications will not be accepted.

To ensure your qualification is processed correctly all students eligible to graduate must indicate via the student portal if they will or will not be attending the graduation ceremony.

Department times for the ceremony/ies will not be confirmed until 23 August.

Graduation ceremonies only proceed if Canterbury remains at COVID Alert Level 1. For this reason, we recommend you make flexible travel arrangements.

Each attending student is allowed up to three tickets for guests.

For friends and family unable to attend your graduation, our ceremonies are streamed live on the Ara website.

Graduation guides

How to Graduate

Graduation regalia

As part of the formal graduation ceremony, Ara regalia is required. Regalia needs to be ordered directly from Graduate Women Canterbury (GWC) website.

Graduands are responsible for obtaining their own academic regalia and we encourage you to organise yours early to ensure availability. Academic regalia must be collected from the offices of Graduate Women Canterbury (located on the Dovedale Campus, corner of Dovedale & Solway Avenues) the day before the ceremony, and returned there as soon as possible after the ceremony.

The hiring of academic dress is a voluntary service provided by Graduate Women Canterbury who own and maintain the regalia for UC ceremonies. Please do not wear academic regalia in the rain.

Proceeds are used to finance GWC scholarships and awards to graduates and students and for charitable purposes.

Tips for on-the day:

  1. Graduation ceremonies are lengthy so please ensure you are well hydrated and have had something to eat prior, it’s easy to forget amid graduation pictures and getting ready.
  2. Ensure your camera and phone batteries are charged for those graduation photos! We will have a portrait photographer at the venue on the day – this and graduation teddies are a separate business from Ara but the information tables will be set-up in the foyer area for you to make any purchases.
  3. Go to the Bathroom! Go before you line up, chances are you’re going to be nervous, so try to go as often as you can before you have to be in your spot for the ceremony.
  4. Cap/Gown/Regalia. Make sure you don’t forget the most important part and ensure you arrive at the venue already dressed; no regalia bags are to be left back-of-house.
  5. Chewing gum. This might seem odd, but it’s especially helpful if you’re way down the list for crossing the stage. If you get strong, minty gum, it will help keep you awake and the peppermint will help with nerves.
  6. If you feel ill while you are seated in the venue, feel free to leave the building for fresh air and seek out one of our Ara marshals who can assist with chaperoning you outside, seeking medical aid or can sit with you until it is your time to cross the stage.

Christchurch Autumn Graduations

Watch the videos here >>

Timaru Autumn Graduation

Watch the video here >>