17 May 2015
Ruud was born in Indonesia and moved with his Dutch parents to Holland when he was still young. Natural history has always been Ruud’s passion and from an early age he possessed binoculars and chased birds in a wide range of habitats.
After high school, Ruud enrolled at Wageningen University, where he gained an MSc honours degree in silviculture, animal ecology and conservation, while managing to travel extensively around Europe. In 1978, Ruud migrated to New Zealand, where he was appointed scientific advisor for the Nature Conservation Council.
From 1982 to 1996 Ruud was employed as an entomologist with MAF in Auckland. But it became apparent that the plight of creepy crawlies needed an advocate. So in 1987 “the Bugman” was born in the shape of a talkback show (Ruud’s Awakening) on Newstalk ZB, a number one-rating programme that has continued in various formats over the past 17 years.
Ruud is a trustee of Project Crimson, the Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, Bank of New Zealand Kiwi Recovery Trust and the Zoo Charitable Trust, as well as patron of Keep New Zealand Beautiful. He served on Auckland’s Zoo Enterprise Board from 1989 to 1998 as a co-opted member. Ruud lives in Auckland with his wife Julie and son Tristan, and when he is not lecturing or working on media projects, he does research, or works as a consulting entomologist for Government Departments and private companies, 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!