A Christchurch couple who won one of the largest Lotto draws in recent history kept their ticket hidden in the sock drawer for days while they worked out what they would do with their winnings.
The couple, who wished to remain anonymous, said they were overwhelmed by the magnitude of the win and needed time to process it before coming forward.
The mouthwatering $33.5 million dollar win was claimed yesterday after the numbers were announced on June 28.
A Lotto spokesperson said the winners occasionally played Lotto and had bought a Powerball Dip a week before the multi-million dollar draw.
The woman said she had been busy doing chores on Wednesday night, and so it wasn’t until quite late that she decided to check her ticket.
“I had been busy doing a few things, and then I thought I may as well check my ticket before I went to bed.
“I looked the numbers up online and started checking each line of the ticket.
“The winning line was right at the bottom, and the numbers just sort of jumped out at me – all of them,” she said.
“I couldn’t breathe at first – I was almost hyperventilating.”
The woman said her husband had already gone to bed and she had to wake him up to confirm the prize.
“My husband had already gone to bed so I woke him up and said, ‘Can you please check this for me? These numbers are dancing on the paper. Is it actually real?’”
After her husband confirmed the jackpot was real, the couple said it was hard to go back to sleep afterwards.
The couple said they were in no rush to claim their prize the next day – or even the next week.
“We wanted to keep things normal while we thought about our next steps.”
But with such a life-changing event, sleep was hard to come by, they said.
“I’d keep things cool during the day but then come home and cry – tears of happiness, of course, but it was also a lot to take in,” the woman said.
The couple said they had kept their yellow ticket hidden in a sock drawer.
It was “nerve-wracking” to know they had over $33 million sitting there, they said.
“I kept thinking, ‘goodness, I better make sure the iron is turned off’ every time I went out”, the woman said.
With their win finally claimed, the couple said they were looking forward to the future – but “are going to take their time and think through how they want to use the winnings”.
“This will help us set up our family for generations to come. It is also enough for us to help community causes we care about over the long term and make a lasting difference – and that is what we are focused on,” the man said.
“Winning this is definitely a defining moment of our lives.”
The winning ticket was sold at Fresh Choice Merivale in Christchurch.
Roughly 1.4 million Lotto Powerball tickets were sold across the country last week when it was announced that $33 million would be up for grabs.
Head of Corporate Communications at Lotto NZ Lucy Fullarton had said they were thrilled for the winner and very pleased to have the prize safely claimed.
“We don’t have any further details to give at this early stage, but we will have more to share over the next couple of days,” Fullarton said.
This was the ninth and largest Powerball win of 2023.
It was also the highest jackpot won since 2021, and the third-highest jackpot ever.
The $33.5 million prize is made up of $33 million from Powerball First Division and $500,000 from Lotto First Division.