Our Wellington

News | 11 December 2020

Behind the Stalls: Sebastian and Lena

In Behind the Stalls, we visit some of the colourful characters of Wellington waterfront’s Harbourside Market. In the sixth of 10 stories, we meet Sebastian Nebel and Lena Donandt of BavariaNZ.

Lena Donandt with a big smile with a blue plate of cut up sausages, and Sebastian Nebel handing over some of his handmade German-style sausages to a customer, with a Bavarian flag hanging on the side of their marquee stall.

Kiwi country boy Sebastian Nebel and German-born Lena Donandt have combined the best of what their lands have to offer to come up with a banger of a business.

The Carterton-based couple started BavariaNZ a few years back, creating handmade European-style sausages with top-quality Aotearoa meat.

Sebastian had followed his roots back to Germany, where his parents were originally from, and completed a four-year apprenticeship in Wartenberg, learning from one of Bavaria’s best butchers.

“I grew up on a farm, so we always did our own beef and sheep and had it on the barbecue for dinner,” Sebastian says.

“I lined up the butchery apprenticeship in Germany and learned the different European styles and way of doing things.”

Sebastian says he’s proud to produce sausages using Wairarapa’s Longbush Free Range Pork and local beef, following traditional recipes without using any fillers, making his products gluten free.

“I enjoy eating quality food that tastes great and is full of flavour. I’ve stuck to what I’ve learnt and enjoy it every day.”

During his time abroad he met Lena, who followed him back to New Zealand. And she says she’s “never looked back”.

The couple sell their Bavarian sausages every fortnight at the Harbourside Market, where they enjoy meeting all walks of life.

“We keep the German names for our sausages, and I always find it really interesting how much Kiwis seem to know about our products,” Lena says.

Young couple Lena Donandt and Sebastian Nebel standing on either side of their business sign, BavariaNZ, with their products, handmade German-style sausages, laid out in front of them in their marquee stall.

Quick Q&A with Sebastian and Lena

What is your Harbourside Market highlight?
Lena – We really enjoy the atmosphere here! The harbour, the nice view. We meet a lot of different people, locals and tourists. We get to hear amazing stories, and there’s always a good laugh. There’s also a great range of choice when it comes to the products on offer.

Any challenges?
Lena – We’re very proud to be part of the market but at times the weather can be a bit tough. Wind can be a challenge and the weather can change a lot in a day. But on the other hand, there can be great summery days too!

What’s something surprising about you?
Lena – I also come from the countryside. It’s quite funny that Sebastian and I found each other on opposite sides of the world.
Sebastian – We work well together as a team. We look out for each other and support one another – both personally and on a work basis.