Graduation at Te Kohinga Marama Marae

Te Kohinga Marama Marae

The Marae graduation ceremony is open to all University of Waikato graduands and is underpinned by tikanga Māori. It is a culturally unique way to celebrate success with your whānau / family, friends and staff.


Te Kohinga Mārama Marae Hamilton campus, Gate 4 Hillcrest Road, Hamilton


Please note there is no parking available in Gate 4 of the University; however, parking is available in University car parks within walking distance of the Marae.

Please arrive in your regalia 60 minutes before your ceremony is due to start. It is important that you arrive early, otherwise you will miss the registration process for your ceremony.

Leave any personal belongings with your guests. You need to have your hands free when you go up on to the mahau and may not be seated in the same seat after presentation of your qualification.


The ceremony begins with a formal pōwhiri (welcome). Graduands come onto the marae before the pōwhiri commences, while Whānau assemble at Gate 4 on Hillcrest Road to be called onto the marae.

When the karanga (call) commences, you will ascend onto the marae; staff will guide you towards the correct seating area.

Whaikōrero (speeches of welcome) and waiata (song) will follow in accordance with Tainui tikanga (protocol).

After the formal speeches, the harirū (shaking of hands and hongi) will signal the conclusion of that part of the process.

After the pōwhiri, University Council members, senior staff and graduands move back up the hill to prepare for the Procession. The gathering will stand and be called onto the marae.

A marshal will lead each row of graduands to stand beside the seats to the left of Te Ao Hurihuri (the meeting house). Please stay in your line order.

Receiving your qualification on the mahau

Graduands are often acknowledged with the performance of waiata or haka. Whānau and friends should be appropriately prepared if they wish to support in this manner, but there is no compulsion to do so.

When your name is called out, walk across the Marae Atea and up onto the mahau to the Chancellor. Your whānau will be able to accompany you to a designated point on the Marae Atea if they wish to. Only graduands may go onto the mahau.

If you are receiving a certificate or diploma, and have already been conferred with a degree, wear your mortarboard to walk onstage. The Chancellor will shake your hand.

If you are receiving a degree, hold your mortarboard in your left hand as you walk on stage. Pass the mortarboard to the Chancellor; he will place it on your head and shake your hand.

Walk across the mahau to the Vice-Chancellor or Dean, who will hand you your certificate and shake your hand while your official photograph is taken. Whānau can take photos of you receiving your award from their seats or from the designated point on the Marae Atea. Please note that selfies are not permitted on stage.

Leave the mahau and return to your seat. Your whānau and friends will also be guided to return to their seats.

There will be a dedicated space for whānau to take photos with their graduands at the conclusion of the ceremony. Please respect your fellow graduands by staying until the end.


All graduating students and their whānau are invited to an informal social gathering after the ceremony. Light refreshments will be served and you can mingle with academic staff and other graduates. Graduands are advised to make city dining arrangements early to secure a booking.