NZ Biggest Ever Jackpot Win 'Complete Surprise'
The record $18 million Lotto Powerball jackpot prize has been claimed by a stunned and surprised family from the Upper North Island, said NZ Lotteries Deputy Chief Executive Warren Salisbury.
"While the rest of the nation speculated about who has won the huge windfall, the lucky winners remained oblivious to their incredible luck," said Mr Salisbury.
The winners, who wish to remain anonymous, said: "We had not seen the draw, or heard any of the media coverage. We did not know where it had been sold.
"Out of the blue we got a call from a relative who had heard the winning ticket was sold in Kaeo. We quickly asked him to check the numbers for us on teletext. Initially he read a number out incorrectly, so we thought we'd had a good Second Division Powerball win."
"But then we got the correct numbers, and could not believe it when they matched ours. We had to check the ticket five or six times," said the stunned winners.
"It really hasn't sunk in yet, we are absolutely stunned. We are just ordinary people but now we get to live an extraordinary life.
The $17,992,975 prize is the biggest ever paid out by NZ Lotteries on a single ticket. The prize is made up of $17,702,362 from Powerball Division One and $290,613 from being a Division One Lotto winner. The ticket was sold at Kaeo Four Square in Northland.
"We have a large, supportive family and we are really looking forward to some fun family times ahead," the winners said.
The winners also plan to help out a number of charities which are close to their hearts.
On finding out they had won the 'stunned' winners reacted in typical low-key kiwi fashion and decided to celebrate by going out to breakfast: "we thought we'd go all out and buy the full breakfast," the winners said.
Until now, the largest Powerball prize ever won by an individual ticket was $15.2 won in September last year from a ticket bought in Mt Roskill, Auckland. The now third biggest Powerball prize was won by a ticket sold in Kawerau and was worth $14.7 million.
"It's amazing how the really big prizes have been spread throughout New Zealand," says Mr Salisbury.