Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Graduation Day - What to Wear, Bring, & Do

A student being capped at graduation

Information about Regalia


Academic Dress at the University of Otago

The academic dress worn at the University of Otago is based on that worn by graduates of the University of Cambridge. The various items worn have evolved from the everyday clothes of scholars in the later Middle Ages.


What You Need to Wear with Your Regalia

There is no prescribed dress code, but most graduands chose to wear smart, semi-formal daywear. Please be aware that Graduation day involves a lot of walking, including going up and down stairs, so very high heels may not be practical.

Korowai and equivalent ceremonial garments of other culture may be worn with academic regalia.


Description of Regalia Items

Members of the University must appear at its public ceremonies in their prescribed dress, therefore for graduation you must hire, borrow or buy the appropriate academic regalia as listed below:

  • Gown - there are four types of gown: a black Bachelor's gown, a black Master's gown, a maroon gown for PhD, DClinDent, EdD and DMA degrees, and a scarlet gown for other doctoral degrees.

  • Hood - Illustration of a trencher also known as a capthis hangs around your neck and down your back and the colour of the hood lining denotes the degree.

  • Cap - the cap for all Masters' and Bachelors' degrees is a black trencher or 'mortar board'. Doctoral graduates wear a black velvet cap.

Regalia is worn for only one degree at a time, so you should not mix a Master's gown with a Bachelor's hood, for instance. Only one hood is worn at a time, therefore if you are receiving two degrees, you should choose which hood you will wear at the ceremony. You will not need the second hood for formal purposes, but may still wish to hire this for photographs.

Regalia hire volunteers and graduation marshals will advise you on wearing your regalia correctly.


^ Top of Page

Which Items do You Need to Wear?


Graduating with a Degree

If you are receiving a degree (including a doctoral degree) you need to hire a trencher, gown, and hood. You must wear your gown and hood to the ceremony, and carry your trencher or cap until you have received your degree.


Graduating with a Second or Postgraduate Degree

If you are receiving a second or postgraduate degree, you wear the regalia appropriate to your new degree and, as you will be capped again, you do not wear your trencher until after you receive this degree.


Graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma

If you are receiving a postgraduate diploma, you wear the regalia appropriate to your degree, including the trencher, as diplomas do not have their own unique regalia. Men should remove their trenchers for the National Anthem.


Graduating with a Diploma (including a Postgraduate Diploma), No Previous Degree

If you are receiving a diploma (including a postgraduate diploma) and do not hold a degree, you need only a black Bachelor's gown worn without a hood or trencher.


^ Top of Page

Hiring Regalia

Academic regalia is normally hired from the New Zealand Federation of Graduate Women (Otago Branch). Proceeds provide funds for fellowships, awards, and grants.

You can select the regalia that you wish to hire and pay the associated charge by credit card as part of your graduation application within your e:Vision student portal.  You will be able to access to your e-Vision student portal by using the same username and password that you use for PIMS.  Please ensure that you make your payment at least five weeks prior to your graduation ceremony. 

Access your e:Vision student Portal

Information about collecting your regalia will be sent to you via email approximately 6 weeks prior to your graduation ceremony.

If you are graduating with a diploma or a postgraduate diploma, and obtained your degree from another institution, please note that we cannot guarantee the availability of regalia from anywhere other than the University of Otago.

If you have other family members who hold a degree and wish to hire regalia for photographic purposes, they must contact one of the regalia conveners for your ceremony directly to arrange this.

Contact details for the regalia conveners will be sent to you via email approximately 6 weeks prior to your graduation ceremony.


Payment for Hire of Regalia

You can pay for your regalia by credit card within your graduation application by logging into your e:Vision student portal, you will also be able to see how much you need to pay.

^ Top of Page

Purchasing Regalia

If you wish to purchase your own set of regalia there are two companies within New Zealand (links to their contact details appear below), who make regalia to order.

If you are wanting to purchase regalia prior so you can wear this at your graduation ceremony, please ensure that you allow plenty of time for your regalia to be made and sent to you.

For further information about purchasing regalia including the cost, please contact either Ballantynes in Christchurch, or Étude Classique in Auckland, directly.

Contact Ballantynes

Contact Étude Classique

^ Top of Page

Regalia Loan Scheme for Staff

The University of Otago has a loan scheme to enable staff to purchase academic regalia. Enquiries about the scheme should be made to:

John Patrick
Chief Operating Officer
Phone 479 8537
Email: john.patrick@otago.ac.nz

^ Top of Page

Graduation Order Number

When you collect your guest tickets, you will find a number sticker with your name and qualification(s) also listed. This is your graduation order number, and it is very important as it corresponds to the place in which your name appears in the Graduation Programme. This also determines the order is which you go across the stage to have your degree conferred or your diploma awarded, and therefore where you will be seated in the Hall.

You need to have this number affixed to the left side of your gown when you arrive in the marshalling area. Please do not remove this sticker, a staff member will be located at the bottom of the steps to remove it from your gown before you cross the stage.

^ Top of Page

What to Bring to the Ceremony

When you arrive in the marshalling area, you should be dressed in your regalia and have your graduation order number sticker (which will be included with your guest tickets) affixed to the left side of your gown. Only one hood is worn at a time, therefore if you are receiving two degrees and have hired both hoods, you should choose which hood you will wear at the ceremony.  Please do not bring more than one hood with you to the marshalling area.

Do not carry anything else that does not fit in your pockets: you will need both hands free on the stage, and you will not return to the same seat after you cross the stage to receive your degree or diploma. For this reason, it is best not to bring cellphones, cameras, flowers or handbags with you to the marshalling area.

Further information, including the time that you need to arrive at the marshalling area, will be sent to you via email approximately 6 weeks prior to your graduation ceremony.

^ Top of Page

How Degrees are Conferred at the Ceremony

After the ceremony has begun with welcomes by the Chancellor and the Māori orator, and the National Anthem has been sung, the ceremony will proceed as follows.

The Vice-Chancellor or the relevant Pro-Vice Chancellor or Dean will announce graduands for each degree/diploma (eg "for graduation in the degree of Bachelor of Arts").

Staff will direct each row of graduands (in strict numerical order) to the steps at the foot of the stage, on the right side of the Dunedin Town Hall. A staff member will remove your graduation order number sticker.

Names are called in small groups. Go up the steps to the stage and, when your name is called, move forward, holding your trencher in your left hand, to stand immediately in front of and facing the Chancellor. The Chancellor will confer the degree by holding a special trencher over your head before congratulating you and shaking your hand. The Registrar will hand you your degree certificate as you move towards the left side of the stage. You then put on your trencher, which should be worn for the remainder of the ceremony. You leave the stage using the steps at the far left of the stage and return to the body of the Hall. A staff member will then direct you to a seat.

^ Top of Page

How Diplomas are Awarded at the Ceremony

The procedure will be the same as above except the Chancellor will not cap the diploma holders, but will congratulate you and shake your hand. The Registrar will then hand you your diploma as you proceed across the stage. If you hold a degree you should wear your trencher as you are crossing the stage, as you are not being capped. You leave the stage using the steps at the far left of the stage and return to the body of the Hall. A staff member will then direct you to a seat.

^ Top of Page