Skip to content
Braunias, Stephen
Author photo: Jane Ussher
Writer's File

Stephen Braunias

Auckland - Tāmaki Makaurau
Braunias, Stephen
Author photo: Jane Ussher
In brief
Born in Mount Maunganui, Stephen Braunias is a journalist, script-writer and non-fiction writer and is best known as a columnist. As a contributor to Sunday Star Times, the NZ Listener, Capital Times and Metro, he has won numerous national journalism awards as well as writing fellowships to Oxford University and Cambridge University. Braunias won the 2002 Montana Book Award for Best First Book of Non-fiction. His 2008 collection Roosters I Have Known features interviews with influential New Zealanders. Civilisation: Twenty Places on the Edge of the World won the General Non-fiction category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards.
  • Primary publisher
    Awa Press
  • Rights enquiries
    Copyright owned by Stephen, contact through his publisher
  • Publicity enquiries


Braunias, Stephen (1960 -) is a journalist, script-writer and nonfiction writer. Born in Mount Maunganui, he became a journalist after finishing school, and has worked in a variety of media all over New Zealand.

Braunias is best known as a columnist. His weekly satires and reflections on New Zealand life have appeared in Sunday Star Times since 2006, and were previously published in the NZ Listener, where he worked as deputy editor from 1999 until 2004. He has also worked as the editor of Capital Times, feature writer at Metro, and senior writer for Sunday Star Times. Since 2008, he has regularly collaborated with photographer Jane Ussher to create photo essays for North & South magazine. He has won national awards for best columnist, best travel writer, best environmental writer, best arts writer (three times), best crime writer, best food writer and best sports writer; as well as writing fellowships to Oxford University and Cambridge University.

His first book was Fool's Paradise (Random House, 2001), a collection of columns, for which he won the Montana Award for Best First Book of Nonfiction at the 2002 Montana New Zealand Book Awards. He also accepted Montana Reviewing awards in 2003 and 2004 in his capacity as books editor of the NZ Listener, which won the Best Books Pages awards in consecutive years.

Braunias became a script-writer for Eating Media Lunch and The Unauthorised History of New Zealand in 2005. He was part of the team who won the best TV comedy award for Eating Media Lunch at the New Zealand Television Awards in 2008. In 2009 he has worked with the same team as a consultant and writer for the TVNZ documentary series Birdland.

How to Watch a Bird (Awa Press, 2007) is Braunias' first full-length non-fiction book. 'His book swoops, it soars, it pecks a few eyes out,' says David Geary on Scoop Reviews (21/07/08). How to watch a bird appeared on several local 'Best books of the year lists' in 2007, including North & South, and NZ Listener.

Roosters I Have Known (Awa Press, 2008) and Fish of the Week: Selected Columns (Awa Press, 2008) are both collections of Braunias' journalism. Roosters is a collection of interviews, first featured in the Sunday Star Times in 2007, with many of the most influential New Zealanders of that time, including political leaders Helen Clark and John Key. The second is Braunias' personal selection of columns which appeared during the three years prior to the book's publication.

Smoking in Antarctica: Selected Writing was published by Awa Press in 2010. Graham Beattie wrote on Beattie's Book Blog, 'If you are ever feeling blue, read one of these delicious essays. The sun will soon shine again... Every one is a gem.'

He was the 2009 Buddle Findlay Sargeson Fellow. Civilisation: Twenty Places on the Edge of the World by Steve Braunias was published by Awa Press in 2012. The book won the General Non-fiction category of the 2013 New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Madmen: Inside the Weirdest Election Campaign Ever (Luncheon Sausage Books), a political satire of NZ’s 2014 election campaign, was published in 2014. This was followed in 2015 by The Scene of the Crime: Twelve Extraordinary True Stories of Crime and Punishment (HarperCollins). A collection of true crime stories, it was described by Marion Dreadon of Booksellers NZ as “a book that will be passed around and will undoubtedly lead to some heated discussions”.

Braunias was the recipient of a Nigel Cox Award in 2015.

In 2016, Braunias released The Shops (Luncheon Sausage Books), a collaboration with photographer Peter Black.

In 2019, he edited and published The Friday Poem (Luncheon Sausage Books), an anthology of pieces from his weekly picks on The Spinoff. On Poetry Shelf, Paula Green writes: "Steve’s anthology of picks from the Friday-Poem posts underlines our current passion for poetry. I don’t see him belonging to any one club (like a hub around a particular press or city) – unless he is inventing his own: Steve’s poetry club. And there is a big welcome mat out."

In 2021, his book Missing Persons was published by HarperCollins. In this collection of true crime writing, Braunias tells twelve extraordinary tales of disappearance.

In November 2021, Braunias' Cover Story was published by Oratia. An LP-sized and shaped book dedicated to the golden age of New Zealand album covers, the book unearths the 30-year lifespan of the New Zealand recording industry, and the unusual and sometimes hilarious cover art that illustrates it.