Teuila Fuatai is a reporter for the NZ Herald

Lucky stores draw the punters

Northland's luckiest Lotto store sold more than 28,000 winning tickets last year.

Figures from the NZ Lotteries' Commission reveal the Kaitaia Pak'n Save outlet sold the region's highest number of winning tickets - paying out nearly $349,000.

The second luckiest store was the Whangarei Pak'n Save.

Outlet manager Jules Hyde said the store, which sold over 24,800 winning tickets, had plenty of regular customers.

"We're pretty blessed that way but we do get travellers from Auckland and, as they're passing, we get customers from Dargaville, Kaikohe and Kaitaia."

Two stores netted the region's biggest single prize for the year.

The Onerahi Bookshop & Lotto and the Mangonui Stationery & Lotto each sold $500,000 first division prize-winning tickets - one in January and one in July. Kamo Lotto had the third highest number of winning tickets last year - 24,256 - paying out $302,646.

Nationally, 24 Lotto millionaires were created last year.

Two South Auckland stores - less than 1km apart - topped the luckiest retailers' list by selling the most winning tickets.

Manukau Pak'n Save and Countdown Manukau City Mall outlets notched up 78,550 and 73,711 respective winners last year. The Pak'n Save outlet has been the luckiest store for three consecutive years.

In total, more than $2.6 million in prizemoney was netted between the two stores in 2012.

The third luckiest store, Christchurch's Hornby Mall, paid out $1.93 million in prizemoney for 69,901 winning tickets.

Lotto outlets in Pak'n Save Riccarton and Radius Pharmacy Peter Dunkerley in Hastings rounded out the top five.

When it came to the year's biggest wins, Tauranga's AJ's Lotto store took out the top spot after selling a $27 million winning ticket. The Big Wednesday prize was claimed in September by a local man, who described himself as a "typical Kiwi bloke". It was the third biggest prize in NZ Lotteries' history.

Waikato's Te Kauwhata Foodmarket scored the year's second biggest prize after former checkout operator Trevor Cooper claimed a $26 million Powerball jackpot in April.

NZ Lotteries' chief executive Wayne Pickup said Mr Cooper's win gave Waikato the country's highest rate of per capita winnings for the year ($641.50).

Invercargill, which had a $20.5 million winner in November, came in second with a rate of $467.94.

Few details about the multimillionaire winner were released, other than he was a South Island vintage motorcycle buff.

His prize was the year's third largest Lotteries windfall.

Clutha, Tauranga and Napier rounded out the rest of the top five spots for per capita winnings.

The Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara districts came in at 21st, 31st and 33rd respectively.

A Big Wednesday prize of $11.4 million, claimed on a ticket bought at Auckland's Royal Oak Mall Lotto kiosk, was the fourth biggest prize of the year. This was followed by a Powerball win of nearly $10.4 million in Napier, claimed on a ticket sold at Napier Pak'n Save.

"Over $375 million was won in prizes in 2012 with Lotto and Big Wednesday, with 144 first division prizes won around the country," Mr Pickup said.

- Northern Advocate

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