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Awanuiārangi celebrates graduation

24 May 2017

Gown & Town parade from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Graduation 2016

More than 200 Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi graduands will receive their degrees and certificates during a formal graduation ceremony to be held in Whakatāne on Friday, 26 May.

The graduands are from the more than 1300 students from throughout Aotearoa who will graduate from Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi this year.

Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi chief executive Wiremu Doherty said the ceremony was a major highlight for the institution, the community and especially for the whānau and friends who will come to support their loved ones and their achievement.

“The ceremony marks the culmination of much hard work and sacrifice by each graduand. It is an absolute pleasure and honour to be able to share in their celebrations and success at the ceremony,” he said.

More than 600 iwi representatives, staff, students and their whānau and supporters, academics and national and regional government officials will attend the day-long celebrations at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae in Whakatāne.

Graduation 2017 will begin at 8am with a pōwhiri at Te Mānuka Tūtahi Marae, followed at 10am by the annual Gown and Town Hīkoi from Mitchell Park Reserve through the centre of Whakatāne to Te Mānuka Tūtahi. The now-traditional procession along The Strand has become a highlight of the day’s events, with hundreds of well-wishers lining the street to perform haka and cheer on the formal parade of students, academic staff and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi Council members in academic regalia. The formal capping ceremony begins at 11am.

A number of special awards will be made, including the presentation of an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy (Honoris Causa) in Māori Development to master navigator and waka builder Hekenukumai Puhipi (Hector Busby) of Te Rārawa, Ngāti Kuri and Ngāti Kahu. The honorary doctorate acknowledges outstanding academic achievement and endeavour over a lifetime.

Hekenukumai Busby is recognised internationally as a leading figure in the revival of ancient Polynesian navigation and ocean voyaging techniques, using the movement of the elements, stars, moon and birds as navigational tools. He has built more than 30 vessels and continues to make a significant contribution to waka construction, voyaging, and navigation throughout the Pacific.