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Where is our $19 million winner?

7 April 2008

Where is our $19 million winner?

"The champagne is on ice, the balloons are blown up and $19 million is ready and waiting in our account to be transferred to the weekend's lucky Powerball winner", says NZ Lotteries' Chief Executive Todd McLeay.

"Now all we need is the winner to come forward and claim their prize," he said.

The winning ticket was sold at Pak N Save in New Plymouth and is worth a total of $19,054,243, which is made up of $18,816,031 from Powerball First Division and $238,212 from Lotto First Division. This is the biggest Powerball prize ever won by a single ticket.

"Our advice to the big winner is to write their name on the back of the ticket and to ring NZ Lotteries on 04 802 7000 for advice on the next steps to take. Alternatively, they could travel to our Wellington office and we will process their claim on the spot.

Mr McLeay says big winners usually decide to travel to Wellington to claim their prize, as this helps to protect their privacy and to speed their claim payment process.

"We will also spend some time with this winner, talking through the impact of such a big win. We will advise the winner not to make made any sudden changes in their life if they wish to stay anonymous – for example don't suddenly quit their job or buy a flash car.

"The winner could still be unaware of their win, or could be currently lying low to avoid publicity. In a survey of previous big winners carried out by NZ Lotteries last year, nearly 30 percent of surveyed winners kept their winning tickets in their handbag or wallet before they claimed. But several winners (8 percent) needed to keep their ticket close – strapped to their chest or even in their bra.

"Some people took a more creative approach to their winning ticket – one put it "under my teddy bears on the shelf beside my bed", another winner stored it "in a box labelled MONEY BOX" and another "hid it behind a picture"," Mr McLeay said.

The previous largest combined Lotto Powerball First Division prize won to date was $17,992,975 won by an Auckland couple who purchased their ticket at Kaeo Four Square in May 2006.


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