I met an interesting fellow on Friday.

Even though I had never met him before, he has been like an old family friend.

As part of that iconic Maggie's Garden Show on TV, he would take his weekly place in the corner of the family home lounge and talk about that largely hidden world of insects.

He is of course Ruud Klienpaste 'The Bugman'.


As I write this from my garden deck, the cicadas are making a deafening din.

I was reliably told that the noise they make will likely be in breach of council's consented noise level of 50 decibels for residential zones.

For the poet in us, the din they make is the music of summer.

The Bugman was one of two keynote speakers at the official launch at Southward Car Museum of FFFlair, a foundation supporting a new national event.

The inaugural event, to be held in February next year, aims to bring key horticultural players and their products to Kāpiti.

The focus is to capture and promote the response of the horticultural industry (worth $7 billion to the NZ economy) to the global consumer movement towards sustainability.

The science and technology of a new agronomic that's looking at: growing more food from less land; reducing the use of chemicals; managing challenges to freshwater supply, transport, storage and post-harvest loss.

And doing all this through promoting the natural ecology.


Second keynote speaker, Andrew Tomlin Fisher, is an internationally known designer of sustainable gardens.

He said that the FFFlair horticulture event, as visioned by multiple national award-winning landscape designer, Ben Hoyle, was a unique response to global challenges and certain to attract international interest.

Ben is a Kāpiti resident.

Bugman Ruud's address on the educational value of the FFFlair event coincides with the warning, issued recently by scientists, that the world's insect biodiversity has seen a significant collapse creating a clear danger to the agro-industry that feeds the world.

Ruud pointed out that increased industrialised urban living has reduced ecological literacy and alienated people from our natural environment.

He said the growing awareness of this makes events like FFFlair critical.

He congratulated the Kāpiti council for supporting the development of the event.

FFFlair received a $30K seeding grant from council's economic development events funding.

Council also supports the event being held on the 60-hectare Otaraua Park.

Otaraua is council's biggest piece of recreational green canvas with huge potential to host large events.

The vision, developed though an extensive public consultation process, blends intensive ecological restoration with recreational use.

Otaraua is also embraced by the Waikanae River which, while being the freshwater lifeblood to the urban centre of Kāpiti, is also the connection for the eco-corridor from the mountains to the sea where it flows through the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve and empties into the Kāpiti Marine Reserve, the waters of which lap the shores of the nationally significant Kāpiti Island Nature Reserve.

The potential synergy of the FFFlair event in Otaraua Park with the total eco-package linked by the Waikanae River is huge.