He has won 30 national awards for writing, including the 2009 Buddle Findlay Sargeson Literary fellowship, the 2010 CLL Non-Fiction Award, the supreme award as the 2006 Qantas Fellowship at the New Zealand Qantas Media Award (Print), and is three-time winner of the Cathay Pacific Travel Writer of the Year Award (2002, 2010, 2011). He has also won awards as a sports writer, crime writer, food writer, and humourist.
Braunias grew up in Mount Maunganui reading Roy of the Rovers, a comic book that would come to influence his later columns through its characters' names. He has worked as editor of Capital Times, feature writer at Metro magazine, deputy editor of the NZ Listener and senior writer at the Sunday Star-Times. He was also staff writer at Metro magazine, and syndicated a weekly satirical diary to six Fairfax newspapers. He currently works one day a week as Editor in Residence at Wintec in Hamilton, as well as writing for the New Zealand Herald.
He is the author of a number of books, and has written for satirical TV series Eating Media Lunch and The Unauthorised History of New Zealand. The $35,000 Braunias received from the 2010 CLNZ Writers’ Award enabled him to work on Civilisation: 20 Places at the Edge of the World, an affectionate travel book about 20 small towns, published in November 2012 by Awa Press.
- Fool's Paradise - won the 2002 New Zealand Society of Authors' E. H. McCormick Best First Book Award for Non-Fiction at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards
- How to Watch a Bird (2007), Awa Press
- Roosters I Have Known (2008), Awa Press
- Fish of the Week (2008), Awa Press
- Smoking in Antarctica (2010), Awa Press
- Civilisation: Twenty places on the Edge of the World (2012)
- Madmen: Inside the weirdest election campaign ever (2014)
- "Creative New Zealand recognises excellence". Scoop. 8 May 2006. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
- "News release: Two journalists win country's richest non-fiction writing awards". CLL Writers’ Award. Royal Society of New Zealand. 16 Sep 2010.
- Walsh, Kristine (March 15, 2012). "Thoughts from 'the man they tried to hang' Thursday, •". Gisborne Herald. Retrieved 13 November 2012.