UCOL's Whanganui contingent celebrated their achievements and graduated at the Royal Wanganui Opera House on Thursday, March 29.

Hundreds of students, families, friends and officials packed out the event, which began at 12.30 and was livestreamed on the UCOL Whanganui Campus Facebook page.

The largest group of graduates came from the School of Technologies, which includes programmes in Apiculture, Hospitality, Cookery, Hairdressing, and Beauty.

It also included the first cohorts to complete the Bachelor of Design and Arts in Whanganui.

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Rabia Cissokho, 24, graduated in fashion and design, and said that the ceremony was "really cool".

"Especially seeing my family, seeing how they are proud of me...and I'm really proud of myself as well."

Ms Cissokho planned to move to the UK following graduation.

"I'm moving to London in November to get more experience in the fashion industry and I'm also thinking of starting my own clothing line," she said.

Rabia Cissokho celebrates graduating with her father and brother outside UCOL's Whanganui campus. Photo/ Stuart Munro
Rabia Cissokho celebrates graduating with her father and brother outside UCOL's Whanganui campus. Photo/ Stuart Munro

Another graduate, Ransid Goettel from the Cook Islands, also planned to leave.

Ms Goettel graduated in computer graphics and design, and said that the course had changed her views.

"I love a lot of different things, it taught me a lot about that, photography, computer graphic design, designing posters, cd's and things like that," she said.

"It's a wide variety and it has really opened my mind."

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Ms Goettel said that she had made more friends than usual in Whanganui, but was leaving to chase another dream.

"I want to get into make-up effects next in Wellington and I can use my graphic design in that as well."

The graduates enjoyed food, beverages and live music back at UCOL's Whanganui campus following their graduation ceremony.