Whanganui's business community celebrated its brightest and best in some style at the Racecourse Eulogy Lounge on Saturday night.

But perhaps the main accolade should go to the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce and its sterling efforts to bring back the Regional Business Awards after a three-year hiatus.

The chamber has had its struggles in recent years but on Saturday president Raewyn Overton-Stuart said that, with new chief executive Marianne Archibald on board, it was full steam ahead.

She said the chamber was "re-inventing itself" and it would be embracing all digital platforms to get the message out about the successes of local businesses.


The event marked Annette Main's last official engagement as outgoing mayor, and one of the first for new mayor Hamish McDouall who said the district's businesses were "the beating heart of Whanganui".

Pointing to the successful local businessmen elected to the new district council, he said all the councillors in their election campaigns had promoted business growth and prosperity.

Nine awards were up for grabs with arguably the most popular choice being the Judith Timpany Memorial Award which went to the redoubtable Ed Boyd of H&A Print.

The award honoured the late Ms Timpany, a chamber board member for many years, a teacher, a Quaker, councillor, and leader of the Community Foundation, and it found its perfect match in recipient Mr Boyd, whose unstinting support for innumerable community endeavours was rightly recognised.

The evening was a particular triumph for husband-and-wife team Kevin Double and Melita Farley of Double Farley Creative Partners who took out the ACU Supreme Award, as well as the CentrePort Wellington prize for professional services; the Safemode award for digital services; and a highly-commended in the NZME small business category.

* The striking illuminated awards handed out were designed by Rob O'Keeffe Joinery and were a representation of the Durie Hill war memorial tower.

The full awards were:

Paua Group: Not For Profit
Highly-commended: Life To The Max Trust; Whanganui River Markets
Winner: Whanganui Learning Centre

The Dentists: Emerging Business
Highly-commended: The Drawing Room; Working Feedback NZ
Winner: Local & Loyal

Whanganui & Partners: Hospitality
Highly-commended: Japanese Kitchen; Hatrick Raceway
Winner: Mud Ducks

CentrePort Wellington: Professinal services
Highly-commended: ecoBuild Developments (eHaus)
Winner: Double Farley Creative Partners

Chamber of Commerce: Judith Timpany Memorial Award
Winner: Ed Boyd, H&A Print

NZME: Small Business
Highly-commended: Double Farley Creative Partners; Mud Ducks
Winner: Whanganui Experience Scenic Jet

Visit Whanganui: Tourism
Highly-commended: Whanganui Experience Scenic Jet
Winner: Hatrick Raceway

Safemode: Digital Services
Winner: Double Farley Creative Partners

ACU (Aotearoa Credit Union): Supreme Award
Winner: Double Farley Creative Partners