Stormtrooper graduate 'goes out with bang'

BY JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN
Last updated 05:00 22/04/2010
Storm Trooper Manji Pieters graduating in Fine Arts and Film waits for the Parade to begin.
KIRK HARGREAVES/The Press

Storm Trooper Manji Pieters graduating in Fine Arts and Film waits for the Parade to begin.

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A fine arts graduate produced a Hollywood finish to her university studies, dressing as a Star Wars stormtrooper to "go out with a bang".

Manja Pieters, 36, is one of 1360 Canterbury University students to graduate this week, and she paraded through central Christchurch in the costume yesterday before receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, majoring in film.

"I have graduated a few times before and I thought, `This is my final time – I'm going to go out with a bang'," she said.

"I also wanted to bring a few smiles to people's faces. It's been tough, with the recession and redundancies."

Pieters said she grew up with movies such as Star Wars and directors like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who inspired her to study film.

"It's really a salute to the people who have supported me. They know I have a sense of humour," she said.

Pieters, who had to remove her helmet to be capped, said some people appeared intimidated by the outfit, but "I'm short so I'm not that imposing".

Pieters is a student adviser at the College of Education.

Engineering, humanities, social science and creative arts students graduated yesterday, while students in science and education will be capped tomorrow morning, followed by law and commerce students in the afternoon.

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- The Press

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