Regalia Hire Service

At GWC we provide a service hiring high-quality academic regalia which is mostly sourced locally from Ballantynes, to students and staff for tertiary graduations, school prize giving’s and for casual hire within the Canterbury region since 1935.

Profits from this service go towards providing scholarships, grants, awards and prizes for students of Canterbury and Lincoln universities, Ara Institute of Canterbury and Summer Studentships for the University of Otago – Christchurch School of Medicine.

This means when you hire your academic regalia from us you are giving back to fellow students!

How to Hire

University of Canterbury
Regalia Hire University of Canterbury Christchurch
At the University of Canterbury, graduands order from and pay for their regalia directly to us. Please fill in the online form below and PAY AT TIME OF ORDER or print the form and pay by EFTPOS by visiting us at our rooms, 9 Creyke Road, Ilam on Tuesdays and Thursdays 9.30am – 2.30pm.
Lincoln University
Regalia Hire Lincoln University Canterbury

Ara Institute of Canterbury
Regalia Hire Ara Polytech Christchurch
At Ara Institute of Canterbury, the regalia hire is ordered through the records office who in turn send the compiled order to GWC. Please email or for more graduation and regalia information visit our website. Visit Ara Institute of Canterbury website ⇢

GWC Printable-Measurement-Ruler

Howto put on your gown on

All casual hires, graduations outside the institutions above or general inquiries please contact:
Ph: 03 369 0604

9 Creyke Road, Ilam 8041 Christchurch
POSTAL: PO Box 6733, Upper Riccarton, Christchurch 8442

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 9.30 am – 2.30 pm 
Hours differ for graduation collection and return of regalia.

Want to support us and give back?

Your willingness to volunteer will assist GWC as a non-profit organisation, to keep costs low and will enable more of the money raised through regalia hire to be added to the scholarship fund. This will, in turn, increase the number of scholarships and awards available for distribution.

What is Academic Regalia

Official or traditional special clothing worn for formal ceremonies.

The practice of wearing academic dress at formal university events is a historic link to the medieval origins of the university and academic life.
While today, the wearing of gown, hood and trencher is largely restricted to ceremonial occasions, for the teachers and students of the twelfth and thirteen centuries these garments were their everyday wear, based on the clothing worn by the clergy, who, in the main, staffed the earliest universities.

The utilitarian medieval clothing has become a rich and colourful garb. The colour of the hood indicates the degree of the wearer and while most bachelor and masters gowns are black, doctoral gowns can be very colourful and elaborate. The officers of the university, are often resplendent in gowns decorated with gold lace.

For most graduates, the only time they will wear academic dress is at their graduation ceremony a tradition which dates from the twelfth century. At the University of Canterbury, all those choosing to graduate in person must wear the correct academic regalia for their degree.


Women graduating from university in the early 1900s was more of a rarity than it is today.

These women united together to form, at first, the Canterbury Branch of New Zealand Federation of University Women in 1921. Following the footsteps of their Otago sisters, they began hiring out their own regalia, plus any they could borrow from teaching colleagues from 1935.

From the earliest days, volunteers have been an integral part of our operation. We continue to rely heavily upon our (largely) volunteer workers for not only their wealth of knowledge but to maintain, clean and repair our gowns, hoods, and trenchers. At graduations our volunteers play key roles in the handing out regalia, fitting it and making sure graduands are looking their best on their big day.

Initially, the funds raised through this service, as well as being used to increase our stock, were contributed towards a fellowship to allow a New Zealand graduate to further her studies overseas. As the business grew during the middle of the 20th Century, the decision was made to form a Charitable Trust to oversee the business to have responsibility for the distributions of the proceeds.

This Trust was formed in 1991, and as well as several endowed scholarships at the University of Canterbury, funds, scholarships and prizes at Lincoln University, Ara Institute of Canterbury and University of Otago- Christchurch Medicine School. The Trust also assists with travel and hardship grants for both women and men enrolled in these Canterbury Tertiary Institutions.