Maori graduates of the university and Wintec may choose whether to receive their degrees at the Founders theatre or at a marae ceremony.
At the Founders, most graduates walk across the stage accompanied by polite clapping. In contrast, at a recent Wintec graduation ceremony at the Kirikiriroa Marae, graduates received heartwarming vocal support from the large gathering of friends and family taking obvious pride in their accomplishments.
At this moving - and leisurely - ceremony most graduates were acknowledged individually by stirring waiata or haka from friends and whanau. Younger members of their families at this event could well be inspired to consider tertiary study for themselves.
A Scottish woman who chose the marae graduation was warmly applauded as we listened to the plaintive notes of her supporting lone piper. Song and dance, as part of the rich fabric of the occasion, move us perhaps more than words may do.