Three years ago Melita Farley and Kevin Double relocated their business from Wellington to Whanganui. Coincidentally it's been that long since the city last handed out its regional business awards.

But on Saturday night this innovative duo - co-owners of Double Farley Creative Partners - collected three awards at the Whanganui Chamber of Commerce regional business awards,, including the ACU (Aotearoa Credit Union) supreme award.

Ms Farley was born and raised here and family still live here. But it was an old villa that drew them to the River City and once that purchase was made it was logical they would move their business as well.

Working from the top floor of the Westpac building in the central city, they have clients across the country and some of them overseas.


Double Farley Creative Partners works in the adult education field providing a range of services and products to clients. It includes educational consulting services, educational film development and developing on-line and face-to-face courses and programmes. They also provide professional development opportunities for trainers, learning designers and teams.

The partnership was set up in 2011, with Ms Farley focusing on adult education and Mr Double on film and technology.

"It's much easier working here than it is in Wellington. The community is incredibly supportive and there are people always available to help you," she said.

Ms Farley said they weren't expecting any awards on Saturday night.

"We were amazed to get the professional services award. To be honest by the end of the evening we were in shock."

Next up was the digital services award and finally the ACU supreme award.

Neither of them is comfortable with being out front; Mr Double said in their business model they are very much behind the scenes.

"When Melita delivers courses people will remember what they learn. It's not about remembering the person standing at the front."

Ms Farley said it's about getting people to the place they want to go, connecting them to other people or new skills to achieve their goals.

They have a flat pay structure in the business which means as owners they're paid the same as their staff. Staff work a maximum of 30-hour weeks and they provide flexible working conditions and times.

"It's important to recognise that everybody who works in our business contributes in a different way with a different set of expertise, so we don't see a need to draw down big salaries. It's about growing the business to provide more employment for more people ultimately," she said.

They set up Confluence, the city's first co-working space, which has become so successful it has set up as a stand-alone company. The duo has also hosted GovHack, acting as mentors to the participants and provided livestreaming for international online events.

The Whanganui community matters to the couple and their business regularly provides free or heavily discounted services to charities in Whanganui. Those organisations have included the Waimarie operating trust and the Pakaitore Historic Reserve Board.

While the bulk of their work is for clients outside Whanganui they haven't had time to go and talk to local businesses about what their business does. The market here is a lot smaller but they said there are possibilities to generate some local business.

"About 85-95 per cent of our business is with returning customers or through people who've recommended us. We've had to say no to a lot of approaches because at the moment we don't have the capacity to handle it.

"We do work with collaborative partners and contractors when we need to, our goal is to have people we can take on in Whanganui and train them to be instructional designers, trainers, film-makers or whatever," Ms Farley said.