Family birthdates have been revealed as the secret to success for Tauranga's $500,000 Lotto winner.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, has been playing the same lucky numbers since Lotto started 30 years ago. She won the first division windfall in Saturday night's live draw.

"I chose them quite some time ago. They're mainly family birth dates - all numbers that are special to me," she said.

The winner was watching the live Lotto draw on Saturday evening and marking her numbers off one by one, when she realised just how lucky she had become.

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"I couldn't believe my eyes - there they were, all in a row. I called my husband over to come have a look and he was so shocked that he couldn't say a word. I've never seen him speechless before so I took that as a good sign that we had won!"

Despite knowing that they won a prize, the couple had no idea just how much that little yellow piece of paper was worth until they visited their local Lotto store the following morning to check their ticket.

"We were so excited that we got up extra early and headed down to the store first thing to get the ticket checked," she said.

"It was a real shock when the Lotto lady told us we had won $500,000. You always imagine what it would be like to win, but when you actually do . . . well it was just the most wonderful feeling.

"The store was so happy for us - they even gave us a bottle of bubbles to celebrate," said the winner.

You always imagine what it would be like to win, but when you actually do... well it was just the most wonderful feeling.

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The winnings are now safely in the couple's bank account, and they are looking forward to deciding what to do with their prize. Helping family is at the top of the list.

"We know we want to give a bit to each of our kids. As for the rest, we're going to take our time," she said.

The woman said she had no thoughts of giving up Lotto, and planned to use her lucky numbers again next week.

"Most definitely. They have been lucky once, you never know, they might be again!"

The winning ticket was sold in New World Brookfield in Tauranga for the Lotto draw on Saturday, September 24.