Jubilant Eastern Institute of Technology graduates will celebrate capping a few weeks earlier than usual this year, parading through downtown Napier in the traditional academic gowns, satin-lined hoods, korowai and tasselled trenchers in mid-March.

Graduation marks the awarding of diploma, degree and postgraduate qualifications completed last year at EIT.

The institute continues to achieve strongly in qualifications, awarding 3360 for 2017 – a very similar result to 2016. Of those, 947 were diploma or higher, with a further 2413 certificates awarded at ceremonies held at the end of last year.

Notable is the growing number of Maori completing qualifications across EIT's various schools. For the 2017 year, 44 per cent of EIT graduates were Maori.

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EIT's student body is characterised by diversity – 12 per cent of those gaining qualifications last year were international students.

In another significant trend for the institute, EIT's student body is getting younger, with 41 per cent aged under 25. Forty-five per cent of 2017's degree graduates were under 25.

This year's graduation will once again be staged as three ceremonies over two days (March 15-16) in Napier's Municipal Theatre, with the Hastings venue, the Hawke's Bay Opera House, remaining unavailable for the event.