The University of Waikato has marked a historic moment with its first cohort of students to graduate at The Pā.
This is the first time in the University’s 59-year history that it has hosted all Hamilton graduations on campus, having previously hosted ceremonies at Claudelands Events Centre and its own Te Kohinga Mārama Marae, as well as earlier at Hamilton’s Founders’ Memorial Theatre and at a number of marae across the region.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley says that hosting graduation at The Pā is a chance for the whole University community to come together and celebrate the success of its graduates, alongside whānau, friends and supporters, in an inspiring venue that is truly Waikato.
“Right back to the days of Founders Theatre, there has always been an aspiration that one day the University could host its own graduation ceremonies on campus and provide a full and memorable experience for students, from their first to their last day at university.
“As displayed today, the concept for graduation is unique to Waikato and reflective of how The Pā was designed, with students and the community at its heart. It included key elements and long-held traditions of the Claudelands and Te Kohinga Mārama Marae ceremonies, as well as incorporating new ideas and feedback from students and staff.”
The ceremonies began with a pōwhiri at 9am, with guests welcomed onto Ko Te Tangata, the University’s marae that is housed within The Pā. The ceremonies then took place in Te Āhurutanga, the Student Hub, which was transformed to deliver four intimate graduation ceremonies over the course of the day.
"It was an honour to welcome graduates, their whānau and the wider community to The Pā today to be part of this unique experience,” says Professor Quigley.
The Pā is the new centre of the Hamilton campus for students, staff and the wider community. It incorporates a new main entrance to the campus, a student hub (including food outlets and social learning spaces) and a new University marae. Its development reflects the University’s commitment to an integrated and accessible campus and a campus experience that includes social interaction, hospitality and culture.