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Awanuiārangi Celebrates Graduation Of 3600 Students

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi will mark the graduation of more than 3600 students this week in a double event that includes students forced to graduate in absentia last year because of Covid-19.a

More than 2200 Awanuiārangi graduates missed out on the opportunity to celebrate the milestone with family and friends when the country went into lockdown to fight the spread of the corona virus. They will have the opportunity to be capped in Whakatāne tomorrow (Thursday 25 March), the first day of this year’s double event.

Chief executive Professor Wiremu Doherty said graduation was always a proud occasion and the main event of the Indigenous institution’s annual calendar. It was also an opportunity for the wider community to honour the graduands’ achievements.

“It was an unprecedented and difficult decision to graduate everyone in absentia last year. We tried as hard as we could to get a graduation ceremony last year, even exploring the option of an online graduation. But it would not have been possible to replicate what we do when we come together in person, so we made the commitment to hold a formal capping ceremony when we were able to.

“Tomorrow, we will honour that commitment to allow our students of the class of 2019 to enjoy their success with their whānau, with us and with their fellow graduates.”

On Friday, the graduands of the class of 2020 will be capped following a combined formal procession of 2019 graduates, 2020 graduands, academic staff and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Council members in academic regalia.

Those graduating have completed doctoral, masters, bachelor’s degree and certificate qualifications in programmes including humanities, teaching, nursing, te reo Māori, performing arts, Māori Studies and Indigenous Studies.

An address from Te Taumata Matanga o Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi will be given by Distinguished Professor Sir Hirini Moko Mead at Thursday’s ceremony. The guest speaker on Friday will be the Honorable Kelvin Davis, Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Children, and Corrections. Hundreds of iwi, government and local authority representatives, academics, staff, students and their whānau and supporters will attend the formal ceremony at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae, marking the 28th and 29th graduations at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi. Haturini McGarvey will deliver the Valedictory address for the class of 2019, and Turuhira Veronica Hare will present the Valediction for the 2020 graduates.

Professor Doherty said graduation was also a time to remember those who had supported and contributed to each graduate’s journey.

“It’s an opportunity to call to and recognise every person who has helped our graduates along the way. Sadly, many of those people are no longer with us, and it’s an important time to pause, reflect and acknowledge the many hands that have helped shape the graduates that we celebrate.”

Thursday’s proceedings begin at 11am with a pōwhiri at Te Mānuka Tūtahi marae. The capping ceremony starts at 12 noon. On Friday, the combined Gown & Town hīkoi for both graduations will leave from Mitchell Park Reserve at 10am and proceed through the centre of Whakatāne along The Strand and Muriwai Drive to Mātaatua Street. Friday’s formal ceremony begins at 11am.

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