Otago Polytechnic

Next graduation:

Friday 8 December 2017

Registrations open:

October - November 2017

Dunedin and Central Graduation

Students graduating from the Dunedin and Central campus will have their ceremony in the Dunedin Town Hall.

Watch the livestream online (the stream will activate on the day). 

 Graduation dates

Otago Polytechnic now has three graduations for Dunedin and Central campus students every year. Some schools graduate in the March ceremony and some in the December ceremony.

 Registering for graduation

Students must graduate within 18 months of attaining their qualification.

You must register for graduation online via the link sent to your email address. The link will be sent to both your personal and Otago Polytechnic email address, however you need only respond once

It is important that all your contact information is up to date so you do not miss important graduation messages we send.

 When registering for graduation you will be asked to tell us;

  • whether you will be graduating in person or in absentia
  • whether you will be attending the Maori Pre-Graduation Celebration and/or your School Pre-Graduation Function
  • about any special seating arrangements required for yourself or your guests
  • your academic dress height and head size information. 

Gown Room Location

Click here to see a complete campus map >

Gown room

 School/Department pre-graduation functions

For any queries regarding these functions, please contact your School/Department. 

 Programme of Main Events

 This is in the process of being updated for December and will be available on this site soon.

Karaka and Mihi Maiōhā

In 2013, Otago Polytechnic re-signed the 10 year old Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Papatipu Rūnaka ki Arai-Te-ūru (Moeraki, Puketeraki, Ōtākou and Hokonui). Much progress has been made in strengthening the relationship between the Papatipu Rūnaka and the Polytechnic with the implementation and monitoring of the Maori Strategic Framework which was developed from the MOU. Since March 2007, as an acknowledgement of this important relationship, Otago Polytechnic Graduation Ceremonies commence with karaka and a mihi maiōhā.

The purpose of the mihi maiōhā is to greet, in Māori, all visitors and all graduands to this place, while also acknowledging Kai Tahu’s place in the Otago Polytechnic Graduation Ceremony. A mihi maiōhā is not surrounded by the formality of powhiri and differs from mihi whakatau in that this ceremonial begins and ends with the woman’s or women's voice through karaka (or karanga in Northern dialect).

The mihi maiōhā will contain an element of the recitation of the landscape and our tūpuna (ancestral names within it). It will briefly welcome all those attending the graduation to the place of those ancestors and will acknowledge that it is an honour for Kai Tahu to have been invited to participate in the graduation ceremony.

Following the maiōhā there will be a waiata kī naki (song of support for the maiōhā), E tu Kahikatea sung by staff and it will end with the karaka once more to signal its closure.

Presentation of qualifications 

All Certificates will be presented first, followed by Diplomas and Degrees.  Graduands’ names are all read alphabetically.

Conferring of Degrees

For those receiving Masters and Bachelor Degrees, please hold the trencher in your left hand when making your way onto the stage. The Chairperson will confer your Degree by holding a trencher over your head.  For those receiving Postgraduate Degrees, please wear your trencher onto the stage. The Chairperson will shake your hand and the Chief Executive will then hand you your Degree. Once you have received your Degree you should then put on your trencher and continue across the stage and exit by the steps at the far side.  The trencher should be worn for the remainder of the ceremony.

You will not necessarily return to the same seat after you have been across the stage, so it is best not to bring cameras, handbags, or other items into the Dunedin Town Hall. Please note that there will be no facilities in the Dunedin Town Hall for leaving valuables; these should therefore be left with friends or family members.

Special Student Awards

The Special Student Awards will be presented by the Chief Executive following the academic award presentations. Those students receiving Special Student Awards will be notified in writing prior to the Graduation Ceremony.

Conclusion of Ceremony

The award presentation will be followed by the singing of the National Anthem. The Official Party will then leave the Dunedin Town Hall in procession.

 Tickets for guests

As a graduand, you do not require a ticket to the Graduation Ceremony for yourself. Four guest tickets will be allocated to each graduand who registers to attend the Graduation Ceremony. Applications for extra tickets can be made by emailing graduation@op.ac.nz

Tickets will be available to collect with your academic dress at the Otago Polytechnic Gown Room (opening hours available in the Quick Guide to Graduation information sheet).

 Academic dress

The academic dress worn at Otago Polytechnic was designed in 1994 by third year students of the Otago Polytechnic Diploma in Fashion and Design course. By taking a Scottish style bachelor's gown as inspiration, the designers maintained the traditional Celtic link with Dunedin, while adapting the unique colours and motif from the Otago Polytechnic shield. By combining these two influences, the students established an appropriately traditional but unique and very distinctive look. 

What you need

The Otago Polytechnic Academic Board has approved the following dress code for graduands.  Select the qualification level you are graduating with:

Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Graduate Certificate: wear the academic dress of your first degree. This will be a gown, hood and trencher and if it is an Otago Polytechnic degree, a facing as well.

Masters Degree: wear a blue gown, single colour hood and trencher with a gold tassel.

Bachelor Degree with Honours: wear a blue gown, facing, hood edged with dark blue and a trencher.

Bachelor Degree: wear a blue gown, facing, hood and a trencher.

Undergraduate Diploma: wear a blue gown and facing only.

Undergraduate Certificate: wear a blue gown only.

You must attend the ceremony wearing the correct academic dress.


  • Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma and Graduate Certificate graduands wear their trenchers on their heads to receive their certificates.
  • Bachelors, Bachelors with Honours and Masters graduands carry their trencher in their left hand.  Once capped by the Chairperson of the Otago Polytechnic Council and having received their award, they then put their trencher on their head and continue walking across the stage.
  • Graduands receiving Diplomas and Certificates do not wear trenchers.

Academic dress - special arrangements

Graduating students are entitled to wear the academic dress for the highest award they hold. You cannot wear two different institutions' academic dress together. If you would prefer to wear academic dress from another institution instead of the academic dress for your Otago Polytechnic qualification, we can arrange the hire for you.  You can request alternative academic dress when you register online via the link sent to your email. 

Hiring Academic Dress

Otago Polytechnic operates a hire service for academic dress, the proceeds of which go towards cleaning and maintaining the academic dress stock. Register for graduation online to order your academic dress.

Please note:  The Otago Polytechnic Gown Room is not able to take credit card payments.
If you have not registered for graduation in the required timeframe you will not be able to hire a gown or attend the ceremony.

The charges (inclusive of GST) for hiring a set of academic dress are:

Certificate, National Certificate

e.g. Certificate in Mata A O Maori, Certificate in Health (Level 4), National Certificate in Veterinary Nursing


Diploma, National Diploma

e.g. National Diploma in Building Control Suveying, Diploma in Business, Diploma in Professional Cookery (Level 5)


Bachelor, Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma, Masters

e.g. Bachelor of Applied Management, Bachelor of Design, Bachelor of Social Services, Master of Professional Practice, Graduate Diploma in Professional Practice, Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education


Hire from another academic institution in New Zealand
(Please note: Academic dress from overseas is not available)

If you wish to wear the academic dress for a previous degree you already hold e.g. Bachelor of Arts, University of Otago


To make your academic dress hire payment you can:

  1. Visit Otago Polytechnic Customer Services in person
  2. Call Customer Services on 0800 762 786 to make a credit card/debit card payment over the phone
  3. Pay at the Gown Room when you collect your academic dress

Payment of Academic Dress 

To pay your academic dress hire fee, either ring 0800 762 786 and make a payment over the phone with a credit or debit card, visit Customer Services (Ground floor, F block, Forth Street, Dunedin) or make your payment at the Otago Polytechnic Gown Room when you collect your academic dress and tickets.  Please note:  The Otago Polytechnic Gown Room is not able to take credit card payments.

If you have not registered for graduation in the required timeframe you will not be able to hire a gown or attend the ceremony.

Cancellations should be reported promptly to Otago Polytechnic's Customer Services at last five days prior to graduation. Cancelled orders will be fully refunded by cheque. The processing of refunds takes approximately 14 days.

Note: If you wish to have your photograph taken wearing your academic dress, it is recommended that you make your bookings early and collect your academic dress at the earliest collection time.

Collection of Academic Dress

Academic Dress must be collected from the Gown Room (on Forth Street behind the Mobil petrol station) (see campus map).

December 2017 collection times will be updated soon.

Return of Academic Dress

Academic dress must be returned to the Gown Room (on Forth Street behind the Mobil petrol station) at one of the following times:

December 2017 return times will be updated soon.

All items of academic dress hired must be returned at one of the above times

Replacement costs will be charged for any lost, damaged or soiled items of academic dress. The replacement value of a full set of Otago Polytechnic academic dress is $1000.00.

Academic dress can be collected and returned on your behalf by friends or family members. However, the responsibility for safe return of academic dress is still yours.


Arrangements have been made with McRobie Studios for an individual photograph to be taken of those who cross the stage at the Graduation Ceremony. Photographs will be taken as degrees are conferred and awards are presented.

These photographs, along with frames and mattes with the Otago Polytechnic logo*, will be available for purchase through McRobie Studios. 

Photos are $15.00

Framed photos are $65.00*

To assist us on the day in finding the graduate, please have the page number ready in the graduation booklet.

EFTPOS, Visa and MasterCard facilities are available on the day.

Prices are subject to change and price includes GST. A full price list for extra photos, enlargements and frames will be supplied with the original photo.

In addition, there will be degree and diploma/certificate frames available.

Photographs are now available to view and order online within 24 hours of the Graduation Ceremony at McRobies.  

Alternatively, you may write, email or phone McRobie Studios. Please advise the date of the ceremony, the graduate’s name and the page number they are listed on in the Graduation Booklet. It is also advisable to add some extra helpful details such as hair colour and length, any distinctive clothing from the waist up, such as suit or dress colour, tie, jewellery, male/female etc.

Contact details:

McRobie Studios, PO Box 11019,

Musselburgh 9049, DUNEDIN

Phone/fax: 03 477 5801,

email: studio@mcrobie.co.nz


Whether you're travelling to Graduation to attend the ceremony yourself or visiting to support your loved ones, you may need to book accommodation quite early to ensure you find something,

To find accommodation near the Dunedin campus, visit HotelsCombined