Overview 2018-06-01T09:58:05+00:00

Karu NZ – An Overview

Karu has systematically embedded expertise that stems from decades of hands-on management and development of successful business operations across horticulture, equestrian equipment, tourism, wood processing, technology commercialisation and urban planning.

Given the rigour of such a dynamic marketplace, innovation and capacity building has been central to the success of the projects that have come under review. Accordingly Karu highlights to all stakeholders that it is less concerned with refining or perfecting the past preferring to leverage new consumer patterns and expectations that promise sustainable wealth generation on a 3-5 year horizon with returns that reflect both risk and first mover advantage. It is the practical and hands on business acumen coupled with a determination to see beyond immediate limitations that sets Karu New Zealand apart from other organisations seeking investment partners.

Karu’s commitment to deliver regional growth through economic development is built on understanding the unique attributes of a region that ensure comparative advantage. The attributes may be as critical as iwi relationships with access to a reliable work force or resources and materials to develop land and create new facilities and services.

Wealth generation is only however a small part of the exciting challenge of turning a business opportunity into a reality.

Senior Executives


Francis Pauwels

Founder and director Francis Pauwels is highly regarded with a reputation built around identifying sectors and opportunities that are under performing in terms of their potential. By putting in place the business model and evaluating projects that will extract long term value he has provided the basis for significant performance gains for subsequent investors to realize. This is the process by which Francis has gained respect and buy-in from stakeholder and investors alike.

Mark Smith

Similarly, managing partner Mark Smith has held senior management and director roles across technology portfolios where his analytical skills, risk assessments and feasibility studies have been highly sought after. He has contributed towards quantifying and developing brand and sales channels for a range of exports and patents. With an engineering background Mark brings the ability to examine the underlying product potential as well as define the over riding market value.

Francis and Mark first met 4 years ago when they were contracted to drive Grow Rotorua the Economic Development CCO. The CCO was launched to drive the implementation of the Rotorua Sustainable Economic Growth Strategy.

With the key sectors at that time including tourism, wood processing, geothermal and agribusiness, investment and development projects with a capital value in excess of $200m have been developed to investment ready stage.

As part of this undertaking, Francis and Mark spent time abroad researching, and visiting successful established business ventures in countries such as UK, Sweden, Canada, USA, France and Austria. This offshore work has led to the completion of scoping projects and feasibility studies that now underpin some of Karu’s more comprehensive investment opportunities that lay well outside of the CCO framework.

According to Francis “You can’t beat meeting the people who are doing things well, taking their advice, heeding their warnings and generally building the knowledge base to then apply to the New Zealand marketplace. Across several previous roles I have been fortunate to travel extensively enabling me to build relationships that are self evident as intangible assets of the company that add significant value.”

Karu can point to many examples where this first hand experience and relationships have promoted cut through, enabled collaboration and created trust that has ultimately expedited positive business outcomes. Karu New Zealand is driven by the significance of transformational investment that can leverage a regions economic advantage and deliver sustainable social and commercial gain.

Regional Development & Investment Specialists Karu NZ