Academic dress

Learn about what to wear at the graduation ceremonies, dress code and where to hire graduation robes.

Your graduation ceremony is a formal occasion and you must wear academic dress for any Victoria University of Wellington graduation ceremony.

Embellishing your graduation regalia with garments of honour from your cultural tradition, such as a kākahu Māori or ta’ovala, is a welcome enrichment to the colour of the ceremony. These are worn under the hood or stole.

Academic dress

If you have previously paid for academic dress and your ceremony was cancelled or postponed, you can request a refund by emailing

Hiring academic dress

The items you’ll need can be hired from Academic Dress Hire. This is the Wellington Branch of Graduate Women New Zealand (GWNZ), a voluntary organisation of female graduates which raises funds through their hire fees to support academic scholarships and other educational causes.

To hire academic dress order online at Grad Gear.

If you’re experiencing financial hardship and are unable to cover the cost of academic dress, contact Student Finance to discuss possible assistance.

If you're unable to apply online, download the Academic dress hire form (PDF) to pay by EFTPOS. Orders received without payment will not be processed.

A receipt is issued to you at the time of ordering online, or within four weeks of your payment order being received at the Academic Dress Hire office. This acknowledges your order and informs you of collection and return times.


Hire fees:

  • Gown—$50
  • Hood or stole—$25
  • Trencher—$25

Orders placed before 13 March will receive an early order discount of 20 percent off the total order cost. An additional fee of $20 is payable with all orders placed from 1 May.

Hoods and stoles may also be bought ready-made.

Purchase prices:

  • Bachelor Hood—$95
  • Honours’ Hood—$95
  • Master’s Hood—$75
  • Master’s Stole—$95

PhD graduates who wish to purchase full academic dress should contact Academic Dress Hire.

Collecting your academic dress

Academic dress for graduation ceremonies can be collected from the Ground Floor, Murphy Building, Kelburn Parade. Bring your academic dress receipt or student ID card when collecting.

Remember, for Michael Fowler Centre ceremonies you need to be at the venue 45 minutes prior to the ceremony start time, in your academic dress.

Returning your academic dress

When you return your academic dress, be sure to bring your receipt.

Failure to return regalia on time will result in a $100 late return fee. If you don’t return your regalia at all, you will be charged for its total replacement value plus any debt collection costs incurred.

How to wear your academic dress

The video below shows how to wear your academic dress. Before the ceremony there will be university staff available to help you.

Dress code for graduation ceremonies

Graduation ceremonies are formal occasions and we request that graduates dress appropriately. A shirt and trousers, dress, or similar standard of formal clothing is advised. Whilst optional, a collared shirt and tie or buttoned clothing are helpful in attaching your hood securely. For health and safety reasons all graduates must wear footwear inside the Michael Fowler Centre and while crossing the stage to receive their award.

What you’ll need to wear is dependent on the qualification you’ll receive. If you’re receiving more than one qualification, you’ll need to wear the hood or stole for the qualification that you choose to cross the stage with.

If you are graduating with a diploma or certificate and hold a degree, you will need to wear the academic dress appropriate to your degree.

    Doctoral degrees

    • Black or scarlet Cambridge Master of Arts gown.
    • Hood or stole in qualification colour.
    • John Knox cap (PhD) or black trencher with tassel.

    Master’s degrees

    • Black Cambridge Master of Arts gown.
    • Hood or stole in qualification colour.
    • Black trencher with tassel.

    Bachelor’s degrees

    • Black Cambridge Bachelor of Arts gown.
    • Hood in qualification colour.
    • Black trencher with tassel.

    Diplomas and certificates

    • Black Cambridge Bachelor of Arts gown.
    • Victoria University of Wellington stole.

    Academic dress hire