Winning $300,000 in Bonus Bonds would send most 16-year-olds into a frenzy.
But not Amanda Murray.
"I thought that I had won $300, but Mum took a look at it and said, 'Uh, that's not $300. It's $300,000'.
"It was 1998 and winning that kind of money changed all of our lives.
"It gave me choices and opportunities that I never thought were possible."
After the initial thrill of the win, sanity prevailed and she eventually decided to buy a house at Lake Hawea — the same house she lives in today.
Also, because her parents scrimped and saved every penny they had to put her through boarding school at Columba College, she gave the remainder to them to buy their own house too.
"I know it sounds greedy, but ever since, I've been waiting for that Bonus Bonds thrill again," the 38-year-old said.
"I guess I'll have to look for that somewhere else now."
ANZ bank announced yesterday it would begin winding down the Dunedin-based Bonus Bonds scheme at the end of October.
ANZ retail and business banking managing director Ben Kelleher said low interest rates and reduced investment returns were significantly affecting the prize pools.
"The official cash rate, currently at a historically low 0.25 per cent, may fall further in early 2021 as the global economy grapples with the impacts of Covid-19.
"The ANZ Investment Services Board decided it is no longer appropriate to accept new investment into Bonus Bonds with immediate effect, and intends to start winding up the scheme no later than the end of October."
Kelleher said investors had two choices — to redeem their Bonus Bonds before the scheme starts to wind up, or stay in and be entitled to a share of the remaining reserves, after expenses, when the scheme is wound up.
"Those who choose to stay during the wind-up phase will have their investments locked in during this process, which may take up to 12 months."
About 1.3 million New Zealanders have about $3.25 billion invested in Bonus Bonds, which is managed by ANZ Investment Services — a subsidiary of ANZ bank.
Instead of getting interest on investments, savers go into a monthly draw to win a prize of up to $1million, but the odds of winning a prize are low and have been getting worse.
Bonus Bonds were launched by the Government through the Post Office in 1970. Since November 1996, the scheme has been managed from ANZ's George St branch.
A bank spokesman said 11 staff (10 in Dunedin and one in Wellington) worked fulltime on Bonus Bonds and that would continue through the winding-up process, which could take up to two years.
After that, the staff would be offered other roles within the bank.