Te Kohinga Mārama Marae Graduation

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. You can learn more about Te Kohinga Mārama Marae here.


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


Please note there is no parking available in Gate 4 of the University. Parking is available in University car parks off Knighton Rd (Gate 1) and off Hillcrest Rd (Gate 7).

Ceremony times

Details of graduation ceremony dates and times are available on the Graduation Ceremonies webpage


Please arrive in your regalia 60 minutes before your ceremony is due to start. It is important that you arrive early or you may 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 the presentation of your qualification.

Pōwhiri and Procession

  • 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, whānau and friends will ascend onto the marae; ushers will guide them towards the correct seating area.
  • It is important your whānau follow the ushers' directions and move along to the end of each seating row.  Failure to do so will disrupt any guests following behind them and prevent other whānau and friends from entering the seated 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 the pōwhiri process.  Your whānau and friends will remain seated.
  • You will then move back up the hill alongside University Council members, senior staff and fellow graduands to prepare for the Procession. All guests will stand, and you (along with your fellow graduands) will then be called onto the marae.
  • An usher will lead each row of graduands to stand beside the seats to the right of Te Ao Hurihuri (the meeting house). Please stay in your line order.

Receiving your qualification on the mahau

Graduands are often acknowledged with one 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.

Please remind your whānau to be respectful of the other people in attendance by keeping the waiata or haka to an appropriate length.

  • When your name is called out, walk across the marae ātea and up onto the mahau to the Chancellor. Your whānau will be able to accompany you to a designated point on the marae ātea if they wish to. Only graduands may go onto the mahau.
  • Whether you are receiving a certificate, diploma or degree the mortarboard should be worn (placed on your head) prior to crossing the ātea and walking on the mahau. An usher will be on hand to respond to any queries and check your dress prior to crossing the ātea.
  • 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 ātea. 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.