Mother and daughter share graduation day

FAMILY TIME TO SHINE: Bernie Hewitson, left, and daughter Laura relax in the sunshine before celebrating their graduation from the Southern Institute of Technology on Friday.
FAMILY TIME TO SHINE: Bernie Hewitson, left, and daughter Laura relax in the sunshine before celebrating their graduation from the Southern Institute of Technology on Friday.

Mothers and daughters often share shoes or style tips, but yesterday Bernie and Laura Hewitson shared something quite special - their graduation day.

Waimumu resident Mrs Hewitson and Laura, her 18-year-old daughter, donned graduation gowns yesterday afternoon to accept their qualifications from the Southern Institute of Technology.

After four years of study, Mrs Hewitson was awarded a bachelor of therapeutic and sports massage, while Miss Hewitson graduated with a diploma in beauty therapy.

The qualifications represent hours of travel to and from Waimumu.

Mother and daughter rarely travelled to class together, although they did manage to catch up around campus, Miss Hewitson said.

"It was odd that my mum was here learning as well. I'd see her in the cafeteria at lunchtime."

The pair were not the only members of the Hewitson family at SIT this year, with their son and brother, Tom, having just completed his first year studying quantity surveying.

About 380 students chose to graduate during two ceremonies at the Civic Theatre yesterday afternoon.

SIT education consultant Trish Lindsay said the polytechnic was forced to split the graduation across separate ceremonies because of the large number of students who had elected to graduate in person.

In total, 745 students graduated with SIT qualifications, including the new bachelor of commerce degree, yesterday.

During the ceremonies, National MP Eric Roy thanked graduates for "bringing some life and vibrance to what a few years ago was quite a staid and conservative city" during their time as students.

Kaumatua and Ngai Tahu Maori leader Michael Skerrett was presented with the SIT honorary fellowship award for his contributions to the community, environmental management and tertiary education in Southland.

The award, bestowed for the first time this year, was designed to recognise significant achievements in fields including education, business, culture and services.

After the second ceremony, graduates and staff paraded along Esk, Kelvin, Don and Tay streets, before returning to SIT's main campus.

The Southland Times