A Northland woman's sailing trip to Whangaroa Harbour proved far more exciting than planned after she won $333,333 in Lotto First Division.
There is nothing better than a day out on the water in Northland – especially when your sailing trip comes with a big financial fillip as the woman, who does not want to be named, found out earlier this month.
The woman was enjoying a sailing day-trip around the Whangaroa Harbour with a friend when she dropped into the Kaeo Four Square on the way home to buy some groceries.
She plays Lotto twice a week and had not heard of a recent First Division win in the Paihia area.
She had a bunch of Lotto tickets in her purse and decided to check them at the same time on the Kaeo ticket scanner. To her disbelief, one of them came up with 'Major Prize Winner'.
As she approached the Lotto store counter, the retail assistant, who was training another staff member on Lotto, was in the middle of explaining that 'If you have a First Division winner you keep the ticket to send onto head office'.
"Then I passed over my ticket and I said 'I think you need to send this one to head office'," said the woman. "She said 'You aren't a First Division winner are you?' I said 'I think I am'," the winner said.
They rechecked the ticket and the First Division win was confirmed.
"The staff were jumping up and down and celebrating the news, they were so happy for me. I was a bit overwhelmed, to be honest. I just kept saying 'thank you, thank you'."
The woman said the moment when it sunk in that she had won Lotto was when she saw the money in her bank account for the first time.
"It is unbelievable to be financially independent," she said. "This win means I can retire comfortably now which is huge. I am very grateful for this money and I know I need to be careful with it."
The women is still getting her head around the win and plans to travel, do some work on her house and support her family.
"I really want to paint the house and there are some renovations that I have wanted to do for a while," she said.
"It will be nice to travel again. I lived abroad for a few years and I would love to revisit some of my favourite places."
The ticket was sold at Countdown Waitangi in Paihia for the Lotto draw on Wednesday, January 8.
The win continues on from last year's Lotto luck for Northland that saw 10 Lotto, one Powerball and three Strike First Division wins in the region. There were also 49 Lotto Second Division wins, 2 Powerball Second Division wins and 214 Strike Second Division winners in Northland in 2019.
Last year $12,505,770 was won in Northland on Lotto; $6,094,841 on Powerball and $2,398,156 on Strike.