Martin van Beynen

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Martin van Beynen
NationalityNew Zealand
EmployerThe Press, Christchurch
Known forJournalism

Martin van Beynen (born 1959) is a New Zealand writer, print journalist, and former columnist for The Press in Christchurch.

Of Dutch extraction, van Beynen was born in Christchurch.[1] He lived in west Auckland from the age of 11.[1] He was educated at St Peter's College, Auckland[2] where he played rugby union[3] and was taught Art by Vic Urlich.[4] Van Beynen attended the University of Auckland, where he studied law, graduating in 1981.[1] He gained an M.A. in 1982.[2] Van Beynen is married with three children, and lives in Diamond Harbour, Banks Peninsula.[1]


After "a number of diversions", including working overseas,[1] van Beynen completed a Diploma of Journalism at the University of Otago in 1989, and began working with the Otago Daily Times in Dunedin.[1] Van Beynen joined The Press in Christchurch in 1991. After several roles, was appointed Senior Writer in 2004[1] and is now a Senior journalist. He was a leading columnist on The Press[5] for 17 years until 2021.[6]

His views have occasionally been controversial. An example was his opinion piece relating to "Breakfast for Canterbury", which was broadcast by TVNZ following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake. The piece began: "As dawn broke over the ruined city, God decided to punish the urbanites one more time. He sent them Paul Henry and his Breakfast television team. Billed as Breakfast for Canterbury, the Auckland TV people came down once more to feast on the already well-gnawed bones of injured Christchurch."[7] In 2012, van Beynen published Trapped, an account of experiences of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.[8]

He made trenchant comment on, and took a controversial position in relation to, aspects of the David Bain retrial.[9] Van Beynen was accused of approaching a juror, which led to criticism of him by an official of the High Court and media outlets.[10] Van Beynen wrote and narrated a ten-episode podcast covering the Bain murder case, "Black Hands". The podcast was launched on 20 July 2017.[11] He also wrote and narrated a one-episode sequel podcast, released on 17 September 2017, in response to a radio interview of former judge Ian Binnie.[12]


Van Beynen has won journalism awards in New Zealand. In 2010, as well as other awards, he won a Qantas Media Award for "Story of the Year" for a feature after the trial and acquittal of David Bain.[13][14] He was also announced "Fairfax Media Journalist of the Year 2010-2011".[1] In the individual categories of the 2012 Canon Media Awards (previously called the Qantas Media Awards) Van Beynen was named Senior Reporter of the Year and Senior Newspaper Feature Writer of the Year. Additionally, he received a Wolfson Fellowship to Cambridge University, enabling him to study at the university in 2013.[15] Black Hands won the 2021 Best Non Fiction prize at the Ngaio Marsh Awards.[16]


  • Martin van Beynen, Trapped: Remarkable Stories of Survival from the 2011 Canterbury Earthquake, Penguin, 2012, ISBN 9780143567233
  • Martin van Beynen, Black Hands, (10-episode podcast),[17] one–episode sequel podcast,[12], 2017
  • Martin van Beynen, Black Hands: Inside the Bain family murders, Penguin, 2020, ISBN 9780143775263


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Martin Van Beynen, Trapped: Remarkable Stories of Survival from the 2011 Canterbury Earthquake, Penguin, 2012, p. 2.
  2. ^ a b St Peter's College Magazine 1982, p. 58.
  3. ^ Martin Van Beynen (1 October 2007). "Wannabe All Black". The Press.
  4. ^ Martin Van Beynen, "Funny how fast you can swim with a shark on your tail," The Dominion Post, 6 April 2019, p. C7.
  5. ^ Columnists: Martin van Beynen. The Press.
  6. ^ van Beynen, Martin (22 May 2021). "Columnist dubbed thinking man's redneck bows out after 17 years". Stuff. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  7. ^ "Breakfast opinion sparks outrage". The Press. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  8. ^ Jeffrey Paparoa Holman. "Trapped by Martin van Beynen review", The Listener, 25 February 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  9. ^ Martin Van Beynen (20 June 2009). "Plenty of doubt in Bain jury's verdict". The Press.
  10. ^ "Paper warned over harassing Bain juror". New Zealand Herald. 10 July 2010.
  11. ^ Dudding, Adam (22 July 2017). "Martin van Beynen: Why the David Bain story needed to be told one more time". Your Weekend. Retrieved 28 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Black Hands: The journalist and the judge". 18 September 2017. Retrieved 17 September 2017.
  13. ^ "Herald, HoS win big at awards". The New Zealand Herald. 12 June 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  14. ^ "Qantas print journalism awards announced". Otago Daily Times. NZPA. 12 June 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
  15. ^ "The Press honoured by multiple awards", The Press, 19 May 2012. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Ngaio Marsh Awards 2021 – winners of New Zealand's top crime fiction awards announced | Crime Fiction Lover". 1 November 2021. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  17. ^ Dudding, Adam (22 July 2017). "Martin van Beynen: Why the David Bain story needed to be told one more time". Your Weekend. Retrieved 22 July 2017.

External links[edit]

  • Black Hands, podcast, and sequel, by Martin van Beynen, 20 July 2017 to 17 September 2017, stuff