Pukaha's annual fundraiser-LOVE PUKAHA-Get's bugged!

Ruud Kleinpaste - a.k.a – “The Bug Man” will be “BUGGIN” Pukaha Mount Bruce over the school holidays in April.

On Friday and Saturday, April 20th and 21st Pukaha Mount Bruce gets “Bugged” by the world famous, Ruud Kleinpaste- a.k.a- The Bug Man.

Ruud is best known for his television and radio shows, including Newstalk ZB’s ‘Ruud’s Awakening’ that was a popular radio talk-back program for more than 27 years.
Ruud’s television highlights include Maggie’s Gardening Show, What Now? and Animal Planet and the Discovery Channel series –‘Buggin’ with Ruud’.

Ruud is a regular magazine columnist on ecology, bugs and gardening and has written a several books. He has lectured plant protection at UNITEC in Auckland, studied kiwi in the Waitangi Forest and worked as a scientist (entomology) with the Ministry of Agriculture for 14 years.

Ruud is heavily involved in conservation efforts in New Zealand as Trustee of Project Crimson, Kiwis for Kiwi, the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Kids Restore New Zealand and The Omaha Shorebird Protection Trust. He is also patron of the Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, the National Wetland Trust, Trees for Survival, Southland Community Environment Trust and Wingspan.

Pukaha is thrilled that Ruud has agreed to get involved in Pukaha’s annual fundraising dinner this year, as MC and entertainer extraordinaire.  LOVE PUKAHA takes place on Friday April 20th at the Copthorne at Solway Park. This annual event includes, nibbles, dinner, a charity auction and entertainment by Ruud and local band Rose Red. Tickets are $95 per person or $900 for a table of 10 and are available at the Pukaha Mount Bruce, visitor centre or by ringing 06 375-8004.

As an exciting extension to Ruud’s support of Pukaha this year he will be at Pukaha Mount Bruce on the Saturday morning following the dinner.   Aspiring conservation hero’s can join Ruud and Pukaha rangers on a Bug hunt around the Pukaha forest.   The cost is just $10 per child (up to 15 years) and all proceeds go directly to helping Pukaha in its conservation efforts. 

Ruud will be on hand to help identify the bugs and make sure all the participants get plenty of bug knowledge.  Participants will also receive a “Buggin with Ruud” official bug hunter pack. Each pack will contain a signed certificate by Ruud that makes each child an official bug hunter. The packs also contain some great bug facts and bug resources to continue the bug learning at home. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. The $10 booking fee includes entry to Pukaha Mount Bruce, so you can stay and enjoy all the other activities Pukaha has to offer. Parents are welcome to accompany their bug hunters. Normal entry prices for adults apply.

Pukaha’s general manager, Emily Court is excited about Ruud coming to Pukaha, Mount Bruce.  “Rudd’s passion for the environment is infectious, this is an amazing opportunity for our kids to meet him and be inspired about nature.  Community engagement is vital for the success of Pukaha’s conservation programme and we are so happy to be able to offer this incredible experience to our young people.”

Todd Jenkinson, Pukaha’s conservation manager who has worked with Ruud before stated that “The excitement and fun that Ruud brings to our ecosystem and the amazing creatures that live in it is something not to be missed. “

Ruud is currently championing environmental education projects from Fiordland to the Bay of Islands, engaging whole communities in citizen science. 

Ruud’s passion is to educate teachers to facilitate teaching conservation to our future conservation hero’s the kids.

Environmental education is becoming an increasingly important facet of his activities. Ruud believes “If we are serious about our operating space (the Planet) then we need to ensure that the younger generation are trained to become science and nature-literate”.