Skip to main content

Graduation FAQs

There are some important formal aspects to the graduation ceremony that might seem new or confusing. But don’t worry – there’s lots of information here to help. And if you still have questions, just email and our friendly team will be able to assist.

Before You Graduate 

The most common reason that the registration link doesn’t work is if you’ve already clicked on it. For security reasons, the link is designed to only work once. 

In this instance, you should be able to access the registration page and update your details from the Student Portal. Please try following the instructions below:

  1. Access the homepage in the portal:
  2. Select the “My Graduation” tab in the left hand menu (this may be in a different order to the screenshot below, but should be in the left hand menu)
  3. Complete your registration

imagebgglw.pngScreenshot of the "My Graduation" tab within the Student Portal

If this doesn’t work, and you’re unable to register, just email, include your Student ID number and full name, and we can register you manually.

Once you have successfully completed your programme, you'll receive an email from Ara advising you of this and inviting you to register for graduation. You'll then need to complete the online graduation form to register for your ceremony.

It can take a few weeks between finishing your programme and receiving the email from Ara - particularly if your programme finishes at the end of the year, and you will be graduating in the Autumn or Timaru ceremony.

If you haven’t received your invitation and think you should be eligible to graduate, don’t panic!  First, check your spam or junk mail. If you still haven’t received the email, please contact us at so we can help. Make sure you do this before the registration close date.

Common delays to confirming eligibility for graduation

Outstanding payments

Outstanding fees, debts, or fines need to be cleared before you can be officially confirmed as eligible to graduate. A delay in this process can affect which graduation ceremony you are able to attend.

You can check to see if you have any money to pay in the My Finances tab in the Student Portal, and you can contact if you need any help.

Check your details are correct

Make sure that we have your current contact details:

  • Check that your name and qualification are correct as these are the name and qualification that will appear on your qualification certificate—the formal, legal record of your qualification.
  • Check your email address is correct, as we’ll use this to contact you. Your graduation invitation will be sent to this email, as will all further graduation communication.
  • Check your contact details, including your postal address, postcode and phone number are correct. If you ask to have your certificate posted, this is where it will be sent.

It is better to update these details early. Making changes while you’re applying to graduate can cause delays. You can check and update your contact details in the Student Portal.

You don’t need a ticket for yourself. All graduates are entitled to at least three tickets free of charge to the graduation for friends and whānau. You request these when you register for graduation, and your tickets will be emailed to you approximately 2-3 weeks before graduation. This email will come from Humanitix (not Ara). Tickets are general admission only (not reserved seating).

If you would like to request extra tickets, you can also do this when you register for graduation. We try our best to accommodate these requests, but unfortunately this is not always possible as there is limited availability. Extra tickets will not be confirmed until after registration closes (this is so we can ensure all graduates receive their guaranteed tickets).

You can only cross the stage on Graduation Day if you’re wearing the official regalia.

You are responsible for ordering your own regalia which you need to do through GWC Regalia Hire who own and maintain the regalia for Ara ceremonies. An order link will be emailed to you approximately four weeks prior to the ceremony.

You will also need to collect your regalia from GWC the day before graduation. For more information, see all of our Regalia FAQ’s.

When you apply to graduate, please ensure you select the qualification you wish to graduate under. You will then be able to order the regalia associated with that qualification. Graduates receiving multiple awards will not cross the stage twice in one ceremony.

If you can’t attend your graduation ceremony, that’s ok. Attendance at graduation is optional. You will still receive your qualification in the mail. You can also choose to defer your attendance to another ceremony date. You may only defer to a future ceremony once. If you can’t make the following ceremony, we can’t hold your place for a future ceremony.

The Graduation Ceremony 

Christchurch Graduation ceremonies are held at Wolfbrook Arena (formerly known as Horncastle or Christchurch Arena), at 55 Jack Hinton Drive in Addington.

There is free carparking on site and bus stops nearby. For more information, including details on accessibility, parking and directions, check out their website.

Timaru Graduation ceremonies are held at Caroline Bay Hall.

For Timaru and Christchurch Spring graduation there is usually one ceremony at 2pm. For the Christchurch Autumn graduation there are usually two ceremonies, at 10am and 2pm.

Timings will be confirmed closer to the event date. We recommend keeping the day free to allow adequate time before the ceremony, and celebrate with friends and whānau afterwards.

We will have plenty of signage and friendly staff onsite on graduation day to ensure you know where to go and end up in the right place.

You will be sent clear instructions with full details before the ceremony.

If you or any of your guests have special mobility or access needs, please let us know before the day by contacting us at Our graduation venues have accessible seating, and we will have lots of staff on hand to help if needed.

If you or any of your guests communicate by NZ Sign Language, we will have an interpreter at the ceremony.