A formal capping ceremony for Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi graduands on Friday will see more than 200 students parade along Whakatane's main street.

The learning institute's annual town and gown procession has become a highlight of the day's graduation celebrations and has the support of local school students who line the sidewalk and sing as the graduands go by.

The procession is at 10am after an 8am pohiri at Te Manuka Tutahi Marae. The formal capping ceremony takes place at 11am.

Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi chief executive Professor Wiremu Doherty said the ceremony was an annual highlight for the institution, the community and especially for whanau and friends who come to support their loved ones and mark their achievement.

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He said nearly 3000 Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi students would graduate this year.

"Each of these 2935 graduands from throughout Aotearoa have worked hard to attain their qualifications and, together with our wider communities, we honour their achievements with pride," Professor Doherty said.

Among the graduands will be the first from the re-developed Maori nursing degree, Bachelor of Health Science Maori Nursing.

Also graduating on Friday will be the first students from the School of Iwi Development's re-developed Te Pou Hono marae-based programmes, which teach critical skills for cultural, social and economic development in marae communities, and the first graduate of the doctorate of Maori Development and Advancement.

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