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Bugman Ruud Kleinpaste visits Puke Ariki Museum in New Plymouth

Bugman Ruud Kleinpaste still loves creepy crawlies despite almost being killed by a spider bite.

Kleinpaste said he was filming in the Amazon Jungle when he got a little too close to a red spider and almost died.

"I have had many close encounters," he said.

The story was one of many Kleinpaste told almost 600 children during a presentation at New Plymouth's Puke Ariki museum on Thursday.

Kleinpaste, who has also swam with electric eels, moved to New Zealand in 1978 after studying plant sciences in the Netherlands. He became known as The Bugman while working on The Early Bird Show alongside Suzy Cato.

He said working with bugs was a hobby and it felt like he had never worked a day in his life.

"Bugs are everything and they actually rule the planet," he said.

"They pollinate plants and flowers and turn organic food into compost."

After a few stories the presentation got a little more interactive and Bell Block's Corban Read, 8, got a close-up encounter with a weta when Kleinpaste dropped it on his chin.

"It crawled up onto my face and it was a cool experience," Read said.

"It was a weird feeling, it felt sticky."

Kleinpaste was also introduced to self-confessed mini bugman Oakura's Seton Clarke, 11, who said he loved all insects and animals.

"One of my favourites is the humming bird because of its wings," Clarke said.

"The Bugman and I were talking about how fast the wings flutter and because it's so fast an orange tip begins to form which looks like a flame."

Puke Ariki's Ruth Harvey said the event was put on to gather support for the Natural Wonders project.

"We had close to 600 children come and learn about why bugs are ruling the world," she said.

"I think it is a great message to give out to the kids and hopefully they will go out and explore the bush and find some bugs."


ACES pest control also provides treatment for antscockroaches and rodents