Bagpipes bellowed through the streets of Napier as the latest crop of EIT graduates paraded through the city yesterday.
Lead by Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule, the hoard of graduates donned in traditional academic gowns, satin-lined hoods, sashes, korowai and tasselled trenchers made their way through the city centre to the Soundshell.
Mayor Yule was joined by local authority leaders, EIT council members, senior executive and academic staff in celebrating the graduates as they paraded from Clive Square up Emerson St to the Sound Shell on Marine Parade.
The number of higher qualifications to be conferred overall - including for those not attending graduation - is an institute record, up 22 per cent on last year.
In total 879 diplomas, degrees and postgraduate qualifications are being awarded, compared with 851 in 2015.
The proportion of younger people gaining higher-level EIT qualifications remained steady, with 37 per cent of graduates under 25.
Women make up 70 per cent of the total.
To handle the growing number of graduates, the capping was managed in three ceremonies.
Business, computing, primary industries, tourism and hospitality and viticulture and wine science were all represented on Thursday afternoon while visual arts and design, education, social sciences and Maori studies were capped yesterday morning, and health, sport science and nursing in the afternoon.
Tara Cooney (Bachelor of Visual Arts and Design) delivered an address to her classes as the honoured valedictorian.
"It's quite a big occasion so I felt very privileged."
She talked about her journey and how important it was to be authentic in life.
"I told them to find something that you really want to do and then give back to the world through what you do best."
Mrs Cooney said it had been three years of hard work to get to get to the "very special day".
Her parents and daughter were on hand to celebrate with her.
She met her husband Jeff while on the course and the couple graduated together yesterday.
"It has been quite an interesting process to go through together, we disappear after dinner to our respective studios so no one gets ancy about not spending enough time together or studying."
She will continue her study and do her masters in professional creative practice. She is hoping to set up a design studio to create personalised story books for people.