John Martin, inspirational speaker

A remarkable story of survival and beating the odds.

John Martin, inspirational speaker

John Martin

On the 2nd of January 1981 John Martin and his accomplice Graham Hide, snuck on to the Port of Tauranga under the cover of darkness. They scaled their way up the iron structure of the container crane, eluding the security guards that patrolled the wharf area below.

At day break Tauranga became part of New Zealand BASE jumping history as the two of them successfully jumped from the 242 foot platform, and landed in the water below. They were picked up by waiting speed boats and made their get a way down the harbour in true “James Bond” fashion, waving to the somewhat bewildered security guards.

This saga would see the pair appear in court a month later. They were discharged without conviction, but fined $100-00 court costs as the judge ruled that “there had been no criminal intent”.

John would continue to advance his interest in aviation and obtain a commercial pilot licence. It would be a career move that would see him thrust into a life full of action and adventure. He would come close to losing his life in an aircraft crash while topdressing, in which he received burns to 70% of his body.

He recovered to go on and set up his own tandem skydiving business and become one of the country's leading motivational speakers.


duration 4.40min
video FlightPath TV

His Story


John Cavaick Martin was born on October 8, 1962 in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty. He was brought up around aircraft throughout his childhood years.

In November 1973, when John was just 11, his father was killed in an aircraft crash. At age 13 John cycled around the East Cape, as his father had before him. In 1979 John made his first parachute jump. He successfully completed New Zealand’s first Base Jump in 1982. From 1987 John was employed as a Commercial Pilot and by April 1989 he had completed over 600 parachute jumps and 1500 hours flying.

burned airplane

On April 15, 1989, while on a topdressing assignment, John experienced a crash and burn plane accident. He received 3rd degree burns to most of his face, hands and body and spent 3 months in an induced coma. This led to ongoing, unpleasant hospital treatments for the next 4 years.

Following his accident John returned to flying, and entered partnership in an Air Charter business, servicing Motiti Island. In 1990 John sold out of the partnership and set up his own successful Tandem Skydiving Business.

John in hospital

John was 27 years old when he became a crash and burn plane victim – given a 25% chance of living. Old enough that the experience could have sent him to the depths of depression. How is it that a positive approach and ‘never say die’ attitude can help the human spirit wing it through unimaginable horrors? What do we need to draw on to be the best that we can be – no matter what the odds? John has a few of these answers. John is living proof...

John wrote a book about his ordeal titled “Out of the Ashes” which was been put up for review with the Curriculum Information Service for use as a student resource. His second book “just shut up and jump” is both motivational and entertaining and shows his talent as a top class author.

As a public speaker John has been described as inspirational, motivational, humorous, captivating and courageous. He can tailor his presentation to fit your brief – whether it be a corporate audience, business function, club or young people.

Invite John to speak
Just shut-up and Jump

Just Shut-up and Jump

John’s book “Just Shut Up and Jump” (The Buzzard Airlines Story) has been described as humorous, entertaining and inspirational. It is living proof of what a positive attitude and “never say die” approach can achieve, and what makes Tauranga Tandem Skydiving the company it is today.

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order your copy today for only NZ$20.00 plus post and packaging (NZ$4 NZ wide, NZ$7 international). Once payment has been received your book will be posted to your billing address.

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John Martin, inspirational speaker
  • John Martin

  • Ph. 027 4968408
  • 2 Kittyhawk Way
  • Tauranga Airport
  • Mt Maunganui 3116
  • New Zealand
  • CEO / Director
  • - Tauranga Tandem Skydiving Ltd
  • Author
  • - Out of the Ashes
  • - Just shut up and Jump
  • Public Speaker
  • - Gold Speaker (celebrity speakers NZ)
  • Commercial Pilot
  • - 4500 hours
  • Skydiver
  • - 650 parachute descents
  • - New Zealand’s first BASE jump
  • Yachtsman
  • - NZ coastal sailor