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Taranaki Woman’s $400,000 Handbag Surprise

Taranaki Woman’s $400,000 Handbag Surprise

A Taranaki woman is ending 2010 on a huge high, after checking an old Lotto ticket lying in the bottom of her handbag and finding she had won $400,521.

The Lotto First Division prize had been won ten weeks ago, on the 15 October 2010 draw, however the woman did not realise that she was a big winner.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the ticket had been buried in the bottom of her bag for weeks, and she had even come close to chucking it out as she did not think it could actually be a winner.

It was only because her daughter asked her to check a couple of scratchies on a visit to town that she then thought to dig the old ticket out of her handbag.

The woman then got the fright of her life when she was told she was the missing Hawera Lotto winner. “I was just blown away, I was just so shocked that I did not know what to think. It is hard to believe that I was carrying around $400,000 for all these weeks without knowing it!” she said.

The winning ticket was sold from @Your Office and Lotto in Hawera. Store owner Kim says they are very happy that their unclaimed prize has finally been reunited with its owner. “It’s great that it was won by a local – what a great late Christmas present for them,” Kim said.
The Taranaki woman plans to use some of her winnings to pay off a mortgage. “Plus we will have the best New Year’s celebration ever – some extra special champagne will be top of my shopping list,” she said.

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Up to three percent of NZ Lotteries' prizes are unclaimed in an average year. The unclaimed prizes are transferred to the prize reserve fund where they are used to fund jackpots and promotional prizes. The largest unclaimed Lotto prize in recent years was a $1 million Lotto promotional prize sold at Tairua Stationers in the Coromandel that was bought as part of the Lotto Holiday promotion drawn on Saturday 29 December 2007. The prize expired one year later.

NZ Lotteries’ current largest unclaimed prize is a huge $4.8 million Big Wednesday luxury prize package, that was won on 17 November. The Big Wednesdasy ticket was sold at Crandall Peters Paper Plus in Manukau.

This weekend sees the drawing of Lotto’s 2010 Holiday promotion, with 200 extra prizes to be won, including two top prizes of $1 million. Triple Dips purchased during the three week promotional period receive a voucher entry into this special draw – for terms and conditions see


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