Born in Indonesia, raised and educated in the Netherlands and migrated to New Zealand in 1978 with an MSc (Hons) in silvicuture, animal ecology and conservation from Wageningen University.
Entomology was always an important hobby that later became part of his media persona: the Bugman.
Ruud studied kiwi in Waitangi Forest and worked as scientist (entomology) with the Ministry of Agriculture (now MPI) for 14 years, before tackling the world of media, communication and consultancy on his own.
Newstalk ZB’s Ruud’s Awakening was a popular radio talk-back program for more than 27 years.
Television programmes were numerous and varied over the past 25 years, with highlights Maggie’s Garden Show, the children’s programme What Now? and various series for Animal Planet and Discovery Channel (Buggin’ with Ruud, etc).
He is a regular magazine columnist on ecology, bugs and gardening and wrote a few books, while lecturing plant protection at UNITEC in Auckland.
In 2008 the Waikato University bestowed on him an Honorary Doctorate and in 2009 his alma mater University in Wageningen (the Netherlands) awarded him the prestigious prize of Outstanding Alumnus.
Her Majesty the Queen decided – in the New Year’s Honours List 2018 – that an Order of Merit (MNZM) would look great behind Ruud’s name… a serious honour indeed!
As well as his involvement with Project Crimson, Ruud is also a Trustee of Kiwis for kiwi, the Air New Zealand Environment Trust, Kids Restore New Zealand and patron of the Little Barrier Island Supporters Trust, the National Wetland Trust, as well as Trees for Survival, Southland Community Environment Trust and Wingspan.
Of course… all these Trusts have a great common factor!
Environmental education is becoming an increasingly important facet of his activities: “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“.
“Imagine if we could teach the whole curriculum, out there, in nature and use the environment as a context for education!”
As a result, Ruud is championing biodiversity, biosecurity and environmental education projects from Fiordland to Hawkes Bay (Cape to City) and Bay of Islands, engaging whole communities in citizen science. Try stopping him!