Belinda Feek is a NZ Herald reporter

Big ticket stashed safely in undies

When his wife "hollered" at him from the living room on Saturday night, a Dunedin man thought she was pregnant.

Turns out they'd just won $13.3 million.

The Dunedin couple, who wish to remain anonymous, were one of three Lotto players who won a share of Powerball's $40 million must-win draw.

"I was watching the live Lotto draw, and circled all of our winning numbers - including the Powerball.

"I was so excited, I didn't know what to do. My husband was in the other room so I hollered out to him."

Her husband said: "My first thought was: 'Oh no, I bet she's pregnant'."

But even when his wife showed him the ticket and the winning numbers, he didn't believe they'd won. They phoned friends to come over to help them check the ticket again.

"Everyone was saying, 'yes, you've won', but he still didn't believe it.

"Even when we found out that the winning ticket had been bought from Pak'nSave Dunedin, which is where we bought our ticket from, he was like 'nah, no way'."

The winners managed to convince Fresh Choice Supermarket in Dunedin to open late so they could check the ticket.

"The Lotto lady had to get out of bed to come down and help check the ticket for us. It wasn't until the Lotto machine made the winning noise and we saw the prize claim receipt that he finally believed it."

"I have a copy of the claim receipt with $13,368,688 written on it," the man said. "I pulled it out of my pocket to look at about 100 times yesterday.

"As for the winning ticket, I kept it in my undies drawer until we had to bring it up to Auckland to collect our prize. No one would ever go looking in there.

"It's funny because I was in my man-cave out the back of the house a couple of weeks ago with my buddy and we were talking about what we'd do if we won Lotto - we were talking about bikes, muscle cars, houses.

"It's amazing to think I can do all that now if I want to. At one point we were talking about buying a whole street of houses and getting all of our mates to move in. I'm not sure I'll do that though."

The couple flew to Auckland to claim their prize in person at Lotto's head office yesterday morning.

"To win this amount of money is incredible and we keep thinking about how we'll be able to help people out with our winnings. We feel so incredibly lucky.

"But we'll stay the same people. In fact, I think we might go out for burgers tonight to celebrate."

On Saturday, the $40 million Powerball First Division prize pool rolled down to Second Division, where there were three winners, who won $13,368,688 each.

The other two winning tickets were bought from Oparau Roadhouse near Kawhia and on MyLotto to a player in Hamilton. Last night, the winners were yet to come forward.

The big win and who's been lucky enough to pocket $13 million is all the locals are talking about in Kawhia.

Kylie Cederman, who used to work at the roadhouse, says every time people see other locals they're asking them if they won.

"You can't pass anyone without them saying, 'have you heard?' I just hope whoever wins it, it's going to change their life. It's going to be fantastic," he said.

- NZ Herald

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