It was a birthday surprise like no other - winning $1 million.

A Tauranga family man said he was completely stunned while checking his winning Lotto ticket at the central city outlet on Thursday, having discovered he was a "major prize winner".

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, was enjoying his birthday morning tea at work when a colleague asked him if he had heard AJ's Lotto store had sold the big one.

"That's when I remembered that I had a ticket in my wallet," the man told the Bay of Plenty Times.

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"My friend suggested I check it on the Lotto NZ app to see if it was a winner. When it came up major prize winner, everyone at work was excited to find out if I was the big winner - so I raced straight down to down to the store to check it.

"As soon as the Lotto ticket went through the machine, the Lotto lady started celebrating."

The man was given a piece of paper with $1 million on it and went back to work.

"Everyone was so excited for me."

The man then managed to track down his wife, meeting up with her at a mall coffee shop.

"I told her to take a seat, just in case. She was so confused by what was going on and why I wasn't at work.

"When I showed her the slip of paper with $1 million on it, she was like 'oh, that's cool, $1000' - I couldn't believe it. When I told her to read the number again, she shouted 'OMG' and got very excited.

"The man next to us was giving us strange looks, I think he thought she was having a heart attack."

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The money, the man said, would be "life-changing for us".

"We're going to be able to pay off the mortgage which just frees everything up and gives us so many more options."

The couple has also already upgraded their upcoming winter holiday to business class.

The man said he was a regular Lotto player, buying a ticket every week. For now, the couple has just told family and friends "and of course the people at work know".

"It's been the best birthday ever."

AJ's Lotto has sold big winning tickets before and is considered to be one of Tauranga's luckiest outlets.

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Owner Linda Zeng said she was so excited when putting the ticket through, she started dancing.

"We are so happy. It's a local person, a regular customer so this is so cool," she said.

Just two weeks ago the store sold a $31,790 winning second division ticket "and now we've sold a million dollar winning ticket". "It's amazing".

In September 2012, the outlet sold a winning $27m Powerball ticket.