A sea of traditional academic gowns, satin-lined hoods, korowai and tasselled trenchers flooded Napier's city centre yesterday as the Eastern Institute of Technology's latest round of graduates paraded their hard work.
The graduation marks the awarding of diploma, degree and postgraduate qualifications completed last year at EIT.
Sane Walker was jumping in the air with excitement - and relief, having graduated with a postgraduate certificate in applied management.
With three children, aged 1, 6 and 9, she was relieved to have survived the experience and is "very happy".
Originally from South Africa, she has previously studied in Durban and Holland and is planning to study further in the future.
Meanwhile, Thanunya Chutikanon was beaming from ear to ear, having graduated with a Diploma in Applied Business.
She plans to continue studying, hoping to gain a degree in business, majoring in Accounting.
Her family were with her in support and her mother, Grace MacDonald, wore a necklace made of real money around her neck. Mrs MacDonald stated that "she worked hard and deserved it".
This year's graduation is staged as three ceremonies, with the last held today in Napier's Municipal Theatre.
Valedictorian Serena Hakiwai graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies, majoring in Marketing.
She began her speech by singing a waiata - about a bird who goes away and gets a taonga to bring it back for the younger generation.
"All the qualifications recognised today can only help to feed and nurture future generations."
She also acknowledged her grandparents who showed her the gift of hard work - "This spread into my studies".
Chief executive Chris Collins mentioned that alongside the delivery at their three campuses, and six regional learning centres, there was also 32 delivery sites other than a physical EIT site in 2017.
"I want to acknowledge you, the graduates. You are the reason we are all here to celebrate your success."
EIT's marketing executive director, Brenda Chapman, said it was the highlight of the year for the institute, to see the graduates achieve.
"It is a celebration of success and it is what all of EIT works for. That is our job, to see people get to this."
She said: "It doesn't matter if you are a groundsperson, or a teacher, or in the executive, everyone is focused on the student outcomes, so it is the best time of the year."
Napier Mayor Bill Dalton, Hastings Mayor Sandra Hazlehurst and Napier MP Stuart Nash were among those in attendance.