Back to work for Tauranga's $7.1m Lotto winners

By Kiri Gillespie

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Linda Zeng at AJ's Lotto on Devonport Rd. Photo/file
Linda Zeng at AJ's Lotto on Devonport Rd. Photo/file

A Tauranga family has been left gobsmacked after winning $7.1 million with Powerball First Division last Wednesday.

The family, who wish to remain anonymous, checked their ticket late on Friday afternoon but, despite having had the weekend to mull over their fortune, had not made any decisions on what to do with the winnings.

Read more: Lotto luck strikes again in Tauranga

"We're going to celebrate as a family with fish and chips on the beach. Other than that, who knows? It's just going to make life so much easier," said one of the family members.

"We're too overwhelmed at the moment to think about the big things [we might spend it on]. We're just gobsmacked.

"We're both going to keep working, just keep it real. This win won't change what we do - it'll just make life that much easier. All we know is that it's going to make a real difference to our family."

The lucky numbers that helped the family become instant millionaires have been in the wider family for more than 20 years - but the winners only rediscovered them recently.

"We were cleaning out some old drawers and discovered a family member's old Lotto tickets with the lucky numbers they played before they passed away.

"We figured why not give them another go - they could still have some luck about them," said one of the winners.

Then last week the family's lucky numbers came up, winning them a massive $7.1 million with Powerball - although they didn't find out for a couple of days.

"The day after the win Tauranga was abuzz with the big news - everyone was talking about it.

"Later in the morning I heard some guys at work talking about the win. They mentioned where the winning ticket had been sold and I thought 'huh, that's where I get ours'," said the winner.

But despite this, the winner was in no hurry to check their ticket.

"I had a few things to do, so didn't get a chance to head back to the store until late Friday afternoon. Then ... 'boom'," laughed the winner.

"I checked the ticket under the self-checker and it flashed up 'First Division winner', so I tapped the lady behind the Lotto counter on the shoulder and said 'I think you'll want to see this.' And the rest is history."

We're both going to keep working, just keep it real. This win won't change what we do - it'll just make life that much easier.
Lotto winner

The Lotto ticket was then kept safely tucked away in a cupboard at home for the weekend before they made the trip up to Auckland to claim the prize, yesterday.

The winners had not told anyone of their windfall, preferring to keep it to themselves.

When it came to spending their winnings, the winners said it was one day at a time.

"We're gobsmacked and overwhelmed - we just can't believe it."

The winning ticket was purchased at AJ's Lotto in Tauranga.

It was the third Powerball win of 2016, with players in Timaru and Ohakune already winning major prizes with Powerball this year.

Another Tauranga Lotto player was among 13 players around the country who each won $17,545 with Lotto Second Division on Saturday's draw.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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