Record $33m Powerball win claimed by 'westie'

A self-proclaimed "westie" from Auckland has come forward to claim the largest ever individual Powerball prize of $33 million.

The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, was driving to work and heard on the radio that the prize was still unclaimed, and realised he'd bought a ticket from the shop that sold the winning ticket.

"I live out in West Auckland, but I'd bought a couple of tickets from different places for the Must Be Won draw - and I bought one from One Step Ahead in Ponsonby.

"When I heard it was still unclaimed, I thought, 'you know, it could be me'. But I still went straight to the gym before checking my tickets. I thought, 'well if I've just won $33 million I might not be able to concentrate on getting my exercise done afterwards', I guess I didn't really think it would be me.

"I had a couple of tickets and when I checked the first one, it won $33 and I thought 'that's pretty good, it's not $33 million, but it's pretty good'.

"Then I checked the numbers on the other ticket and pretty quickly saw that I had most of the numbers."

In the Powerball Must Be Won draw on Saturday, despite there being two Lotto First Division winning tickets and 35 Lotto Second Division winning tickets, only one ticket had the right Powerball number, and that number turned out to be worth $33 million.

"I have my wife to thank - four is her lucky number, which is why I chose it as the Powerball number on this ticket."

While One Step Ahead in Ponsonby has been buzzing over the last couple of days with the news that the big winner was sold there, the man with the winning ticket is still coming to terms with how lucky he is.

"I went into One Step Ahead during the week and was joking with the guy behind the counter about the $22 million Big Wednesday prize and how good it would be to win even a share of that. He wished me good luck, and then I was on my way."

When asked how he was feeling about the win, the man said he was trying to remain "cool, calm and collected" and then conceded that he was actually "stressed on the inside, but trying to remain calm".

While the money is expected to appear in his bank account overnight, the man is still thinking about how he might start to spend it.

"The first thing I want to do is help out friends and family. And maybe my wife would like a new car? We've only ever bought secondhand cars before. I can't get my head around the fact that we can afford a new car now.

"I think it will take a while for it to seem real that I've actually won this money."

This is the largest individual Powerball prize ever won and the second largest individual prize across all of Lotto New Zealand's games. The largest ever individual prize was a Big Wednesday First Division prize worth $36.9 million, won by a family from Masterton in 2009.

In a Powerball Must Be Won draw, if there are no First Division winners, the prize pool rolls down to the next division where there are winners. In this case the prize rolled down to Powerball Second Division, where there was one winner.

Last week a ticket sold in Christchurch won $22.6 million with Big Wednesday. The winner of that prize is yet to come forward.

Lotto New Zealand was established in 1987 to raise funds for community benefit. Thanks to Lotto players, over $200 million in profit was able to be returned to the community last year via the Lottery Grants Board.

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