Tuesday January 2 2018
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ROYAL BUGMAN: Ruud Kleinpaste and George a two-year-old tree weta. PHOTO: MARTIN HUNTER
Bugman’s work with nature rewarded with honour By Emily O’Connell MORE THAN 50 years ago a very young Ruud Kleinpaste had a pair of binoculars and a curiousity for birds. Now the Halswell resident has been recognised for his services to entomology, conservation and entertainment. Dr Kleinpaste, 65, has received a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit. He said his love for nature started when he was about eight-years-old and he used a pair of binoculars to watch birds outside his bedroom window. Also known as Bugman from Maggie’s Garden Show, Dr Kleinpaste admits he never expected the award. He shares his passion with others because he wants people to learn
about nature – not for recognition. “Honoured is probably the best way to describe it,” Dr Kleinpaste said. Early in his career Dr Kleinpaste spent 14 years working as an entomologist for the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In the late 1980s he began the radio talk back show, Ruud’s Awakening. He’s published regular newspaper and magazine columns and commenced television work with the documentary series The Enduring Land. Dr Kleinpaste then worked on the children’s series The Early Bird Show before becoming Bugman on Maggie’s Garden Show. In the 2000s he worked on the documentary film The Bughouse, the Animal Planet documentary World’s Biggest Baddest Bugs and the 13-part series Buggin’ with Ruud.
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Dr Kleinpaste currently works an ecological consultant and is a trustee of Project Crimson, Kiwis for Kiwi, Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Kids Restore New Zealand and the Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust. He’s a patron of the Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, National Wetland Trust, Trees for Survival, Southland Community Environment Trust and Wingspan. Suprisingly though, Dr Kleinpaste never studied bugs. “It’s always been a hobby and I love it and that’s probably the best message to anybody especially children,” he said. Dr Kleinpaste said the best thing about his job is telling stories. He said humans can learn a lot from nature as it’s the best classroom.
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Published on Dec 27, 2017