Whangarei's 3 Bonus Bond millionaires unprecedented

By Mike Dinsdale

Whangarei bank manager Martin Brooker could be known as the million dollar man after telling three people in the last seven months they have become instant millionaires.

Whangarei residents are on an amazing run of success with three millionaires produced in seven months from winning on Bonus Bonds and it's the job of Mr Brooker - Whangarei ANZ branch manager - to ring the winners and tell them that their lives have changed.

And he reckons it's the best job in the world - even if they sometimes don't believe him.

"It's a feeling that can't really be compared with anything else. Being able to tell someone news that you both know will make a huge difference to their life is the most touching experience," Mr Brooker said.

"It's been really nice to give people the great news, but often they don't believe me at first. People react in different ways and some people may feel they are being wound up a little bit. In one (of the three cases) I had to ask the woman to get her husband out of the shower by assuring her he'd want to hear the news I had."

Mr Brooker can only tell the person whose name is on the winning Bonus Bond.

"Another one went completely silent. I had to check that they were okay and still on the line, but they were just taking it all in." he said.

The latest million dollar winners want to remain anonymous, but one woman spoke on condition she wasn't identified.

"When I got the call to tell me I'd won, I was unsure if it was genuine, but when I realised it was real I was very excited. I did a little skip after I got off the phone," she said.

"I always hoped to win the big prize but I never really expected it. I thought I'd leave my bonds in there to see what happens, and I'm glad I did." She has kept the win quiet, telling only family and her accountant at this stage and plans to keep working at her part-time job. "It's very exciting to be able to do this. The win will definitely make life easier," she said.

Bonus Bonds head Glenn Stevenson said Whangarei's run of success was unprecedented.

"We had three ($1 million winners) in Christchurch a few years ago, but that was over 12 months, not the seven months Whangarei has achieved it in," Mr Stevenson said. "This is quite unique and we haven't had anything quite like it.

"I think Thames is still our luckiest town for winnings per capita, but Whangarei is tops when it comes to $1 million winners."


- Northern Advocate

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