A Tauranga man in his twenties, who describes himself as a "typical Kiwi bloke", has today claimed the $27 million Big Wednesday First Division prize package.
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, travelled to Wellington to claim his prize today. He was still shaking with the impact of his massive win as he filled in the paperwork at the office.
"I only went to AJ's Lotto to get a haircut, as it has the hairdresser at the back of the shop. However, the hairdresser was shut at that time, so I thought I would use the haircut money to get a Big Wednesday ticket instead," he said.
"It was a spur-of-the-moment decision and I can't believe it has resulted in me winning so much money.
"It's life changing. It will also enable me to help out my immediate family, who have been so good at supporting me over recent years."
The man also says his winning ticket was at one stage destined for the rubbish bin.
"I originally checked the results on my phone, but I must have got the wrong draw so I thought my ticket was a loser. I chucked it aside and thought 'that was that' and went to work.
"It was only when there was so much talk in the town about the unclaimed prize that I thought it might pay to recheck the ticket.
"Once I realised I was a winner I felt sick, and I pretty much had a sleepless night last night. I kept staring at the ticket and wondering if it was real," he said.
The man now plans to take a few days out to let the reality of his win sink in. Then he plans to buy a new car and maybe build his first house.
"I am a bit of a greenie, so I am really keen on sustainable living. It has been my dream to build my own eco-friendly house and live off the grid. That dream is now possible," he said.
His $27 million Big Wednesday prize is the third biggest lottery prize in NZ Lotteries' history.