The UCOL graduation procession heads down Carterton’s main street on Wednesday. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV


It was a colourful affair as the procession of this year’s Universal College of Learning [UCOL] graduates made their way down Carterton’s main street for Wednesday’s graduation parade.

More than 170 students graduated from a range of courses including, nursing, early childhood, business, baking, cookery, hairdressing, beauty therapy, construction, automotive engineering and animal care.

Graduating with her Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Care was Lara McGregor.

“I got into early childhood straight after school,” she said.

Originally from England, the 23-year-old grew up in Turangi before moving to Wairarapa to be with her partner, Aidan Smith, a sheep and beef farmer.

She had spent the past five months travelling from Pongaroa three days a week to complete the course.


“It was hard going because it takes me about 90 minutes to get into town.

“I was very tired, but I stuck to it.”

UCOL’s small campus size and the job opportunities the qualification provided were the reasons she chose the course.

McGregor was feeling “really good” about graduating and looked forward to completing her diploma this year.

She is working at a childcare centre in Pongaroa, and now only has to travel once a week.