In six months, he's won $10.3m, spent $4.3m, lost 10kg, put it back on again, "almost died", and found a new "lease of life" buying racehorses and a Mercedes, giving to charity, and upgrading a cemetery.

Tauranga kaumatua Lou Te Keeti, in old gumboots and faded shorts, reflects on his "big year" after scooping $10.3m in the Lotto Powerball on July 8.

The 71-year-old is still "grounded" and says the win hasn't changed him.

After the haul, he and wife Val continued "as though it was a normal day" with their weekly Pak'nSave shop.

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In the aisle, Te Keeti "felt not myself, quite strange', collapsed, and was rushed to Tauranga hospital. His doctor diagnosed him with "a case of euphoria".

He has $6m remaining of the windfall which he is using to "create memories for the time I have left on the earth" rather than material things.

Lou Te Keeti and wife Val, pictured at Karaka New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run sales in November, will celebrate their 50-year wedding anniversary in 2018. Photo / Michael Rist
Lou Te Keeti and wife Val, pictured at Karaka New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run sales in November, will celebrate their 50-year wedding anniversary in 2018. Photo / Michael Rist

For Christmas he bought Val "a flash camera" for $800.

With four adult children, seven mokopuna, and the hapu of the marae of which he is guardian, Te Keeti has shared his winnings "responsibly" in koha.

He's given more than $300,000 to charities, renovated a shed for the mokopuna to tenant, learnt business skills and upgraded the marae.

 Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti is renovating his house and has gifted a shed to his mokopuna to tenant and learn business skills.
Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti is renovating his house and has gifted a shed to his mokopuna to tenant and learn business skills.
 $10.3 million Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti has upgraded the urupa at Wairoa Marae. Photo / Jaden McLeod
$10.3 million Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti has upgraded the urupa at Wairoa Marae. Photo / Jaden McLeod

This month he treated the mokopuna to a week in a Whangamata bach.

"I said to Val we should hop on one of those cruise ships in Tauranga port and sail off somewhere, but she told me not to be silly, she's too busy."

Instead of embarking on an ocean liner, in January they will ride the Mana bus to Auckland, then a flight to Wellington.

"We'll go to Te Papa, then flying straight back. None of the kids have flown before so it is as much about the experience."

For Christmas, Val bought Te Keeti tools including a wrench,

"And a to-do list. There's always something she wants me to fix."

Lucky Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti is renovating his home. Photo/ John Borren
Lucky Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti is renovating his home. Photo/ John Borren

The mokopuna got him a Warehouse singlet, his only new item of clothing since winning Lotto.

"I like to be comfortable."

In the weeks after the big win he lost 10kg but has since put it back on, eating Val's pavlova and trifle on Christmas Day as well as hosting a hangi of pork and chicken.

After the win Te Keeti researched his whakapapa only to learn that male members of the whanau tended to pass away in their mid-70s.

That discovery prompted wife Val, who had found it hard to come to terms with the win, to encourage him to invest in their shared passion: racehorses.

The couple now own 10 horses, including four purchased last month for $750,000 .

"In the 50 years we've been married Val was always the thrifty one. We had to budget. She used to rein me in. After the win we had a coffee and talked about how we wanted to spend our last years.

"Things that mean the most in the world to us are the kids and horses. To some, racehorses might seem like an extravagance but Val has been researching bloodlines for 30 years but we have never had the money."

Te Keeti says Val has "an intuition" about animals.

"She knows if it is going to rain by the way the cockerel sounds. She talks to the animals more than she talks to me."

The couple also own cows, sheep, chooks and a large aviary.

Te Keeti hopes to see one of "his biggest indulgences" winning the Melbourne Cup one day.

Another recent splurge is $200,000 on a brand new S-Class Mercedes saloon in Obsidian Black, which is being imported from Europe.

He had bought Val "a sporty Suzuki" but she has not clocked up many kms in it, preferring to drive her old manual.

Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti is upgrading the Suzuki Swift to a $200,000 S Series Mercedes.
Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti is upgrading the Suzuki Swift to a $200,000 S Series Mercedes.

"She said 'Lou, only I can fit in this little car but I like going places as a family', and she insisted on driving her old car but I gave it away and bought her the Merc and hope she likes it."

Val is overseeing the renovations of the family home for which he has architectural plans to turn it into a multimillion-dollar dwelling.

"Val is adamant we keep the bones of it as it is, including the wood we originally made it from our old orchard we had when we were first married."

Mindful of his health in 2018, Te Keeti has joined the local Aspire gym and, despite his double hip replacement, is training for a triathlon with other Bay kaumatua. He's bought himself a new bike to train on.

He has a good reason to get in shape - in 2018 he will celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary with Val. The win means he "can do it properly".

He is gifting Val a diamond engagement ring - her first.

"Fifty years ago I never had money to buy her an engagement ring so she never had one."

At the anniversary celebration, the couple will renew their vows.

"Well if she will have me. She will probably tell me not to be stupid and waste the money."

He says Lotto has not given him a new life but just enhanced the one he already had.

"If anything it made me appreciate the life I already had. Even though money was tight, we had a roof over our head, kai and we all had each other. We have the same things now ... some things are easier, but it's people that matter, not money."

It's Val's sentiment too, says Te Keeti, who, like the horses roaming in the paddock, keeps his feet on the ground.

"When I talk about it she tells me 'Don't plan your life away, Lou. One day at a time, let's just enjoy what we have now.'"