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The Graduation Ceremony

Graduation is a big day – it’s a milestone event that you can celebrate with your friends and whānau. There are important formal aspects to the ceremony, and lots to take in about where to go and what to do.

Read through the information below so you’re prepared and know what to expect on the day.

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.

Ara’s graduation ceremonies are filmed for livestreaming, and photographed. Footage and photos will be available publicly on our digital media, and may also be used in Ara publications and promotional materials (digital and print). If you have any questions regarding graduation photography, please email

Linton Photography are the official photographers for graduation.

Studios will be set up at the venue so you can have portraits taken with family or friends. A limited number of session times are available to book, and sessions are also available on a first come, first served basis before and after your ceremony.

Photographs will also be taken of every graduate as they are presented with their award on stage.

To find out more or book a session time please phone 03 339 6699 or visit

Graduation bears with Ara regalia are available for purchase. You can buy a bear before and after the ceremonies at the venue, and you can also pre-order a bear.