One of New Zealand's most successful high-flying property couples have left Auckland to set up their global headquarters in Singapore and eventually settle their family in a luxury gated community in Fiji.
Kenyon Clarke, CEO of property company Du Val Group, and wife Charlotte, who is the company's COO, packed up their clifftop Remuera home early this week and headed for Singapore to launch their Du Val Group International strategy.
The couple are known for splashing the cash on luxury lodges, expensive cars (including a Rolls-Royce Phantom,) private jets and chopper rides, not to mention creating a property developing reality show last year yet to be screened.
According to its website, the Du Val Group is valued at $750 million and the Clarkes don't plan to stop there. Plans include property development in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, with Singapore as the hub for the operation.
The couple, now searching for Singapore office space, plan to relocate Du Val's head office there within the next 11 months. Several of the company's key executives will also relocate to Singapore. The Clarkes tell Spy that although they will no longer live in New Zealand, they consider themselves very much Kiwis and hope to take a little Kiwi ingenuity to the rest of the world.
Du Val's business in New Zealand will remain a core focus for the group, they say, run by a management team in Auckland, who will routinely visit the Singaporean head office to keep business operations running seamlessly across the two markets.
Their large Remuera home has been replaced with a more modest property to use on visits back to Aotearoa but the plan is to settle in Fiji with their four young children by 2025. After Singapore, the Clarkes will head to Nadi, where they have bought two adjacent sections with ocean views in a mixed gated community on Naisoso Island, joined by a causeway to Fiji's main island of Viti Levu and close to Denarau. They have plans to build a large home with a luxurious spin on traditional Fijian architecture.
The Naisoso Island community boasts 24-hour security and offers a mixture of beachfront and riverfront houses, holiday homes, hotels, villas, tourist activities, shops, nature reserves and parks, not to mention sun-drenched golden sand. Not that there will be much time for lounging on the beach.
British-born Kenyon already has an office in London's Mayfair run by Ashley Osborne, the former managing director of international properties at Colliers International. The company's property technology platform, PropTech, will provide agencies and their clients with access to major property projects that have normally been available only to large funds and institutional purchasers.
"Du Val International is focused on bringing the projects of some of the largest property developers in the world to a global market, " Kenyon told Spy. "Connecting property developers, agents and international buyers on our PropTech platform in a way that will disrupt the new-build space forever.
"I've always believed in finding genuine problems to solve if you want to build a successful business. Increasing the supply of new homes in markets with critical undersupply is the problem we are trying to solve and this requires some smart thinking and an approach that's not constrained by geography or political ideology."
Despite their foray into the international scene, the Clarkes say they are committed to their business in New Zealand and will be visiting regularly. They have a team of 120 working from their Auckland head office in the $110m Lakewood Plaza building in Manukau. which also houses two of their lifestyle businesses - Du Val Club's 5-star health club and gym, and Du Val Health, which provides nutritional advice and supplements.
They have plans to open another office in Auckland later this year to keep up with the growth of the company. Another health club is scheduled to open in 2023 in a Du Val development at Mangere Bridge. Kenyon says Du Val will continue to roll out many more projects within the Auckland region.
"We will never stop being New Zealanders and will be back for ABs and The Blues' games, a team we are proud to sponsor."
As for their Property Development Reality TV series on which Spy reported last year, and which was rumoured to be snapped up by a big streaming service, the Clarkes say "Watch this space".