Ruud Kleinpaste

The Bug Man, Ruud is equally at home, talking about human or insects – in fact he draws interesting parallels in their lives.

Ruud Kleinpaste was born in Indonesia but moved to Holland and managed to pick up some foreign languages along the way. Natural history has always been Ruud's passion and he chased birds in a wide range of habitats.

Ruud gained an MSc honours degree in silviculture, animal ecology and conservation at Wageningen University. During his university studies, entomology also became an important hobby.

In 1978 Ruud migrated to New Zealand, where he was appointed Scientific Advisor for the Nature Conservation Council (Wellington), before moving to DSIR Entomology Division and later joining the New Zealand Forest Service to study the ecology of the brown kiwi in Waitangi State Forest. From 1982 to 1996 Ruud was employed as entomologist with MAF in Auckland and it became apparent that the plight of creepy crawlies needed an advocate.

In 1987 "the Bugman" was born in the shape of a talkback show (Ruud's Awakening) on Newstalk ZB. Ruud's first book ‘Scratching for a Living’ was published in 1997 and his second book, ‘Backyard Battlefield’, in 2005. For many years, Ruud has lectured a Plant Protection course “How to murder your plants more slowly” at UNITEC.

Ruud Kleinpaste is a trustee of Project Crimson (protecting icon endemic tree species), the Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, Bank of New Zealand Save the Kiwi Trust, the Air New Zealand Environment Trust and patron of Keep New Zealand Beautiful and Trees for Survival.

In 2008 Ruud was asked to be the Ambassador for ‘the Year of the Frog’. He worked on TV3's ‘Early Bird Show’, presented for the kid's show ‘What Now?’ and the ‘New Zealand Today Show’, and narrated a four part doco-drama (‘The Enduring Land’) on the history of farming in New Zealand. From 1992 till the end of the program in December 2003, Ruud was part of the presenters team of ‘Maggie's Garden Show’, More recently he has been appearing as entomologist on Animal Planet/Discovery programs (Twisted Tales and Most Extreme) and has regularly contributed segments for ‘Good Morning’ (TVNZ). His documentary ‘The Bughouse’ screened on TV1 in 2001, and in 2003/2004 ‘The World's Biggest and Baddest Bugs’, was filmed for Discovery Channel and Animal Planet in the USA. He then fronted a series of shows for Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel called ‘Buggin’ with Ruud’.

From late 2004 to late 2005, Ruud travelled the world, filming ‘Buggin’ in the most exotic and weird locations. About 40 weeks were spent filming 13 one-hour episodes that included some strange stunts. The profile of ‘Buggin’ with Ruud’ led to two Emmy nominations in 2006 and appearances on USA networks popular shows such as the ‘Tonight Show’ with Jay Leno.

In April 2008 the Waikato University bestowed on him an Honorary Doctorate and in 2009, his ‘home’ University in Wageningen (Holland) awarded him the prestigious prize of Outstanding Alumnus.

Ruud does research or works as a consulting entomologist for Government Departments and private companies based in New Zealand, Japan or points in-between, or he prepares a new destination for the next eco-tour he wants to lead. He loves nature, ecology and invertebrates so much that he goes out of his way to find little bits of paradise all over the world while constantly striving to change people's perceptions about the small things in life that matter so much to our world!

Ruud is highly entertaining and energetic regardless of what you ask him to talk about.  Your audience will love him!!!


  • MC
  • After Dinner
  • Environment
  • Bugs, Birds and Ecology
  • Biodiversity
  • Biosecurity


Ruud was very well received and the audience loved him.  Emily Simons, Puke Ariki

Thank you for being a fabulous speaker at the NZIBS 'Capital Response' Conference 2014, in Wellington.  We have had overwhelming positive feedback from your presentation and several members expressed you were one of their highlights, at the conference.  Sally Dunbar, NZIBS