News | 11 August 2023
Share on social

Harbourside Market manager recognised for 13 years of mahi

Local legend Fraser Ebbett has been running the iconic Harbourside Market for over 13 years and has recently received a Rotary Club award for his personal outstanding commitment to making the waterfront a better place for the community and the city.

Man wearing a blue tshirt picking up oranges at a market.
Fraser in action a few years into his role.

Fraser has received the Paul Harris Fellowship, the Rotary International’s highest award, to acknowledge how he has enabled the Rotary Club and other community organisations to make contributions to the wider community through his role. 

While many people know and love the iconic market, it’s not common knowledge that alongside the usual hustle and bustle of the food stalls and produce trucks, there are also established ongoing fundraising programmes that run over the course of the day.

One of which is the community car park fundraiser, which sees the market car park being managed by community groups including Rotary, with the takings going towards their own fundraising. This has allowed over $20,000 to be raised annually.

Vege stalls at the harbourside market.

Fraser was one of the driving forces behind this initiative when he noticed that the car park could be run more efficiently and provide a unique fundraising opportunity for others at the same time, he says.

“People pay $2 to park and a community group manages the cars coming in, and the money raised can go towards their own projects. It’s a nice fundraiser for them because its different to the normal sausage sizzle or baking stall. 

“It’s pretty cool to see lots of groups using it too, from sports groups to scouts. There’s often a lot of young people involved, and they get the chance to have a lot of responsibility to manage it. We’ve probably had over 25 groups take part every year.”

Two men smiling at the camera.
Early days with Kaibosh Founder George Langlands in 2011.

Alongside this fundraiser, Fraser helped champion Kaibosh when they were starting out, and was one of the first markets to sign up to the food rescue. Now every Sunday, stallholders donate up to 1000kgs of unsold, fresh produce which is then distributed to local charities. 

He is also passionate about using the market to help give people a head start – from performers to young enterprise groups to new businesses that are starting out. 

“The market is such an asset for the community. Lots of small businesses come to the market to start out and it’s a place for them to grow and test their products. Many people have started here before moving on to bricks and mortar, like Tommy Millions, Sixes and Sevens, Lashings, and most recently Hot like a Mexican in Willis Lane.”

Harbourside Market with cars in the carpark next to it.

Wellington Waterfront Manager Shane Binnie believes Fraser has had a key part in making the waterfront such an enjoyable place to be.

“Fraser demonstrates highly admirable values of integrity, service and respect. He's incredibly community focused and through the Harbourside Market he has built a well-known Wellington institution. The market is consistently named as a top tourist destination by international blogs and news articles. This has not happened by mistake and is a testament to Fraser’s hard work and dedication to the waterfront and the city."

Shane says the economic benefits and cultural impact of the market is significant to the Wellington community.

"Over 15,000 people visit the market every Sunday with money going straight into the hands of local market gardeners, stallholders and food truck businesses. It also provides a convenient service to Wellingtonians who have now made a visit to the market a regular part of their weekend routine.”

While he is humble about his achievements, Fraser is honoured to have won this award and attributes it to the market.

“I do feel proud of it  I have the coolest office in Wellington. But, I’m more proud of the market and for what it has become – a place that’s important to the community.” 

Find out more about the Harbourside Market through the Facebook page, or our Behind the Stalls series.