Mostly Credited As: Ruud Kleinpaste
Sometimes Credited As: The Bug Man
Country Of Birth: Netherlands
Ruud Kleinpaste was born in 1952 to Dutch parents living abroad in Indonesia. After being schooled back home in The Netherlands, he studied plant sciences at university, eventually earning a degree in silviculture (the cultivation of trees). Meanwhile, at the age of 20, he discovered entomology.
After emigrating to New Zealand in 1978 (his wife Julie is a New Zealander), he worked in various environmental jobs before settling down to 14 years in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF). In 1987 he started a talkback radio show ("Ruud's Awakening") in which he offers environmentally friendly horticultural tips to gardeners.
The success of this show led to some fame in New Zealand, where he is known as "the Bugman". He retired from MAF in the middle 1990s for a career as an ecological consultant. This line of work has led to television work inside and outside New Zealand, which has brought further fame for him and his environmental causes. These include promoting environmentally friendly agricultural techniques, the protection of endangered native NZ birds, and, most famously, the understanding and appreciation of insects, spiders, and other terrestrial arthropods.