Huge Lotto win 'dream come true'

By Amy Shanks

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A local man $13.2 million richer after last week's Lotto draw celebrated by putting an engagement ring on his wife's finger.

The middle-aged Hastings couple, who did not wish to be identified, had been playing Lotto "since it began" and realised on Sunday they were holding a winner. It was a dream come true for the pair, who planned what they would spend their imaginary winnings on every week.

"While we're going to do the things we dreamed of, like buying new cars and fixing up the house, we're going to be really careful, too - we want to make sure this prize lasts," he said.

"The first thing we bought was a long overdue engagement ring for my wife - it was a great feeling being able to treat her to something special."

The excitement of winning Lotto was enough to heal his wife, who was laid up in bed with a migraine when the confirmation came.

"I play my own numbers every week, so as soon as I saw the results I knew we'd won something good - I just didn't know what. When I realised we'd won First Division I crossed my fingers, hoping I'd picked the right Powerball too ...

lucky for us, I had.

"My wife wasn't feeling well, so was in bed at the time - it turns out that me bursting through the door screaming 'we've won $13 million' was an instant cure."

Last week the local rumour mill was swirling and anticipation grew as people speculated when the new found fortune would be claimed - all the while the lucky ticket was stashed away in a sock drawer.

After several sleepless nights, the middle-aged couple drove to Auckland, with their children in tow, to celebrate the start of their new life as millionaires.

"We both resigned from our jobs not long after finding out we'd won the big one. We'll stop working for now, but I'm not too sure what we'll do in future."

So what does having $13.2 million in the bank feel like? "Unbelievable. When we saw it in our bank account for the first time it was like we'd won all over again - we were jumping up and down screaming at 4am."

Despite the extra cash, they won't be leaving for the big smoke or relocating overseas any time soon - Hawke's Bay is home and it's definitely where the heart is.

"We love living here so won't be leaving the area - why would we when the region has some of the country's best weather?"

While the number of zeros on their bank balance had increased, they claimed to be the same down to earth people, if only a little more tired. "I do feel different - I'm exhausted. I've barely slept since finding out we'd won."

Their routine of grabbing a ticket after shopping at Hastings Pak'nSave will continue, even after last week's success. "We always buy our tickets at the same store after we finish our grocery shopping. The ladies who work there are lovely so we never leave without a smile."

Previously the largest amount they had won was $400. Now that they were in a better financial situation, the couple hoped to help family live "more comfortably" as well as reaching out to their favourite charities.

"The Child Cancer Society is the main one we want to give to, but we will definitely look at other[s] we can help too."

The total Powerball prize of $26.4 million was shared between two winners from Auckland and Hastings.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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