Dr Tru Paraha

PhD CP (University of Auckland)

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Post Doctoral Fellow


Whakapapa: Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu o Torongare, Ngāti Te Tarawa, Ngāphui-nui-tonu, Israel/Palestine

Tru Paraha is a professional choreographer, published author, and director of contemporary performance. A graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance, she has toured extensively to international festivals in Malaysia, America, New Caledonia, England, Italy, Holland, Germany, Austria, & Belgium, and held residencies in Tahiti, Japan, Australia, and Aotearoa. She is a former member of renowned performance company MAU, directed by Lemi Ponifasio. 

Tru’s independently commissioned choreographies and collaborative works have featured at national arts events, symposia, galleries, theatres, and festivals. In 2020 she received a Michael King Writers' Centre residency, a Basement Theatre Ideas in Residence residency, and the Te Tomokanga Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Faculty of Arts. Her practice-led PhD won a Vice-Chancellor’s Prize for Best Doctoral Thesis 2019. 


Choreographic works (selected):

  • 5th body: Almanac (current project 2021)
  • Whiro, ORO live art installatiion, TAPAC (2021)
  • Stargazer, Basement Theatre Ideas in Residence (2020)
  • The gloaming, Tempo Dance Festival NZ (2019)​
  • 5th Body: xorcsm, Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa (2019)
  • Pā Huna, choreo-film, DANZ, New Zealand (2018)
  • 5th Body, Votive Poetics Workshop, Auckland (2018)
  • blackOut, Kenneth Myers Centre, Auckland (2018)
  • KARE; kind artificial real experience, Undisciplining Dance Symposium (2016)
  • HINE-2012, Maidment Theatre, Auckland (2012)
  • HINE-, Kowhiti Dance Festival (2011)
  • Mareikura, Te Papa Tongarewa (2008)
  • Bloodearth dark ocean, Auckland Matariki Festival (2007)
  • Parekura, MAUForum, Auckland (2005)

Research | Current

Tru's transdisciplinary research develops astrochoreography, poetry, live artworks, performance writings, and critical essays. Engaging global astronomy, the project extends its concerns toward the protection of the night sky as a world cultural heritage. This research has included a two-week residency at the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. Essays on astrochoreography and dark cosmology in performance are published in Choreographic Practices (UK) and Ka Mate Ka Ora (NZ). A collaborative article 'Ensemblography' is forthcoming in Global Performance Studies (USA)

Writings arising out of Tru's PhD are published in The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy (2020), Performance Research (UK), and Undisciplining Dance in Nine Movements and Eight Sumbles (2018). Selected poems have been published in galleries, books, and digital platforms, including Poetry New Zealand, Blackmail Press, a fine line, and Tātai Whetū. A short collection 'in my darkling universe' is forthcoming in AUP New Poets 8, published by Auckland University Press. Selected visual poems will feature in an exhibition at Audio Foundation in October 2021.

Teaching | Current

Convenor and lecturer

ENGLISH 113 Global South: New World Texts


  • 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
  • Critical dance studies
  • Transcultural creative writing
  • Live art production
  • Performance writing

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Member of The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) 
  • Member of The Auckland Astronomical Society (AAS)
  • Member of The New Zealand Poetry Society (NZPS)


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Paraha, T. (2020). A Choreopoetics of Te Pō. Ka Mate Ka Ora : a New Zealand Journal of Poetry and Poetics (18), 29-41. Related URL.
  • 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.
  • Paraha, T. (2017). A moanan theory of reality television. Best New Zealand poemsWellington. Related URL.


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 6, Room 651
New Zealand

Social links

Web links