Hamilton, October 19, 2023
The class of 2023 witnessed a day full of celebrations, smiles, ceremonies and some proud tears when around 480 of the best and brightest students graduated at The Pā on the Hamilton Campus on Monday, October 16, 2023, in the presence of family, friends and supporters.
The University of Waikato marked a historic moment with its first cohort of students to graduate at The Pā – the first in its 59-year history. Graduation ceremonies in the past years have been held at the Claudelands Events Centre (now Globox Arena), its own Te Kohinga Mārama Marae, Hamilton’s Founders’ Memorial Theatre and several marae across the region.
A True Waikato Venue
Vice-Chancellor Professor Neil Quigley said that hosting graduation at The Pā was an opportunity 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 since the days of Founders Theatre, there was always an aspiration that one day the University could host its graduation ceremonies on Campus and provide a full and memorable experience for students, from their first to their last day at the University.
“As displayed today, the concept of 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 ceremonies held at Claudelands Event Center and Te Kohinga Mārama Marae ceremonies, as well as incorporating new ideas and feedback from students and staff,” Professor Quigley said.
The ceremonies began on a sunny morning with a Pōwhiri (a traditional ceremony welcoming people onto a marae) at 9 am, 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,” Professor Quigley said.
A unique space on Campus
The Pā is the new centre of the Hamilton campus for students, staff and the wider community. Inaugurated by Kīngi Tūheitia, it is the most significant capital development in the University’s 59-year history.
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.
The $85 million development began in 2019 and will be the year-round home of campus life for students and has become a memorable landmark of personal significance for all the students who were celebrated at the first-ever graduation ceremony which took place earlier this week.
Watch the video of the Graduation Ceremony here.
Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.