Dr Tru Paraha

PhD, MCPA (Auck)


Tru Paraha (Ngāti Hine) is a professional choreographer, writer, and director of contemporary performance. A graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance, she has toured extensively to international festivals and residencies as an independent artist, and former company member of Mau Dance. As a practitioner working within the academy, she specialises in artistic research across performance and writing disciplines, and has key interests in matauranga Māori. She currently works as a postdoctoral research fellow in English, Drama, and Writing Studies.


Commissioned works (selected):

  • Parekura, MauForum, Auckland (2004)
  • Bloodearth dark ocean, Auckland Matariki Festival (2007)
  • Mareikura, Wellington Matariki Festival (2008)
  • HINE-, Kowhiti Dance Festival, Wellington (2011)
  • HINE-2012, Maidment Theatre, Auckland (2012)
  • KARE; kind artificial real experience, Undisciplining Dance Symposium, Auckland (2016)
  • blackOut . Black Box Studio, Kenneth Myers Centre, Auckland (2018)
  • 5th Body, Votive Poetics Workshop, Auckland (2018)
  • Pā Huna, choreo-film, Auckland, New Zealand (2018)
  • 5th Body: xorcsm, Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa, Auckland (2019)
  • The gloaming (curator), Tempo Dance Festival NZ, Auckland (2019)




Research | Current

Tru's transdisciplinary research develops ‘dark sky archives’ engaging modern astrophysics and tātai arorangi. Current articles on dark cosmology and its implications for poetics and performance philosophy are forthcoming in Ka mate ka ora: A New Zealand journal of poetry and poetics (NZ), and Choreographic Research (UK).

Artists' pages and critical essays drawing on her recent doctoral studies are published in The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy (2020), Performance Research (UK), and Undisciplining dance in nine movements and eight stumbles (2018). A collaborative text is currently underway for Global Performance Studies and the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism (USA)

Selected poems have been published across live, digital, and page-based platforms including Poetry New Zealand, Blackmail Press, Tātai Whetū, Puna Wai KōreroThe Moon on My Tongue, and Best New Zealand Poems 2017. New works will feature in AUP New Poets Series 8 (due 2021). 

Tru's research extends her interests in dark sky preservation and observation in Aotearoa, and informs a manuscript, "In My Darkling Universe", which takes its title from a poem by New Zealand author David Kārena-Holmes.


  • Transcultural poetry and poetics
  • Aotearoan performance writing
  • Astro choreography


  • Te Tomokanga Postdoctoral Fellowship, Faculty of Arts 2020
  • Basement Theatre Ideas in Residence Established Artist 2020
  • Michael King Writers' Centre Residency 2020
  • Vice-Chancellor's Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis 2019
  • Dance Aotearoa New Zealand Choreographic Residency 2018


Areas of expertise

  • Experimental choreography
  • Critical performance studies
  • Transcultural creative writing
  • Practice-led research
  • Live art production
  • Contemporary performance

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Paraha, T., & Schmidt, T. (2020). Blackout: Thinking with darkness. In Cull Ó Maoilearca L, A. Lagaay (Eds.) The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy (pp. 437-446). Routledge.
  • Paraha, T. (2018). Darknyss/Te pōuri. In M. Rakuraku, V. Manasiadis (Eds.) Tātai Whetū: Seven Māori women poets in translation (pp. 12-20). Wellington, New Zealand: Seraph Press.
  • Paraha, T. (2018). & darkness. In C. Brown, Longley, A (Eds.) Undisciplining dance in nine movement and eight stumbles (pp. 119-137). Newcastle, England: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/50466
  • Paraha, T. (2018). Colluding with Darkness. PERFORMANCE RESEARCH, 23 (2), 49-54. 10.1080/13528165.2018.1464754
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/50734
  • Paraha, T. (2017). Selected poems. In R. Whaitiri, R. Sullivan, B. Styles (Eds.) The moon on my tongue: An anthology of Maori poetry in English (pp. 88-91). Lancs, United Kingdom: Arc Publications.
  • Paraha, T. (2017). Writing with darkness & other poems. Paper presented at Performance Writing Symposium, Auckland, New Zealand. 22 March 2017.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/43888
  • Paraha, T. (2017). A moanan theory of reality television. Best New Zealand poems Related URL.
  • Paraha, T. (2015). Piercing the whitespace. Blackmail Press (41). Related URL.