In just six weeks, he's won $10.3m, spent $1.5million, lost 4kg, and found Gareth Morgan.

Yet Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti is still wearing his old gumboots sitting on his rusty 1950s tractor in the paddock with the ducks and the chooks.

Speaking to NZME at his home by the Wairoa River, the Tauranga kaumatua says home is the only place he feels "grounded" from the "bedlam" since he scooped $10.3m in the Lotto Powerball on July 8, then revealed his identity two weeks later to NZME.

"It has been hectic, non-stop. "

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For Te Keeti, 70, life is busier than ever, and his wife Val complains that she is seeing less of him.

Literally so, because he has been so busy he has lost weight.

He's watching his diet since a heart scare in which he collapsed straight after his win, after seeing all the zeros in his bank account.

"I am trying to be sensible in what I eat rather than go for all the goodies that I like - pastries or fried stuff. I've even eaten a salad sandwich for lunch. Salad! That's something new since winning."

He now rises at 5am to reply to his many messages and emails.

I don't wake up and think, 'whoa, I am a millionaire'.

"It hasn't changed who I am, but it has added to what I have to do. I don't wake up and think, 'whoa, I am a millionaire'. But it has given me more responsibilities to get things done. In a good way."

Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti in his garden outside his house by his bird aviary where wife Val spends half an hour each day talking to the birds, which include parrots. Photo: John Borren
Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti in his garden outside his house by his bird aviary where wife Val spends half an hour each day talking to the birds, which include parrots. Photo: John Borren

He's already spent $1.5m of his winnings on "koha" including $300,000 to three local charities which he donated soon after his win.

"I wouldn't describe myself as impulsive because - like many people I guess - I had always planned what I would do if I was ever blessed with good fortune. But I was feeding the animals the other day and thought, wow, $300,000, just like that, that is a big chunk.
But I don't regret it one bit."

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The other money has been put aside for family - his four children and seven mokopuna - and he has already started sharing with the 1000-plus members of the nearby Wairoa Marae where he is kaitiaki.

The marae is a hive of activity, with contractors coming and going.

The road to the urupa (cemetery) has already been prepped for tar-sealing, a huge retaining wall has been erected, and holes have been dug for drainage.

A digger turning earth outside Te Keeti's front garden drowns out the sound of the rooster, and tree-fellers are on their way to fix up the area around the urupa on the hill overlooking his home.

"That's a priority to make that a beautiful place for our tupuna (ancestors). After all they are my neighbours. And great neighbours too, because they don't make any noise."

In all this outlay of cash, he has not bought himself any treats - not even new clothes or gummies.

"Look at me, I don't look like a millionaire, that's for sure."

He jokes that his old car broke down and is currently being serviced.

He hasn't bought anything special for Val, for whom he says the win still hasn't sunk in,

"I did take her out one night to the marae social club for some drinks. But she was nervous, saying 'Lou, I don't know how to be now'. She was worried what to say to people. But everyone was just the same. She liked that, and she said to me that night was like 'as though we had turned the clock back six weeks, before the win'."

Val, he says, is not a woman who likes "fancy things".

Val, he says, is not a woman who likes "fancy things"

"She is very thrifty. That comes of raising a big family. We have always had to budget well, and that is not going to change. I even put $100,000 in an account and said, 'Val, do what you want with this and I won't even ask how you have spent it.' She hasn't touched it."

Val's focus, he says, remains the children and mokopuna, and her animals - as well as the horses, sheep, dogs, ducks and chickens, the couple have fish in a pond in the garden, and about 30 birds - including a red parrot - in an aviary Lou built.

"Val comes in here every day for half an hour and talks to the birds, it is a ritual she has. I think she likes talking to them more than talking to me."

Their only daughter has come home from Western Australia to stay with her parents, and some of Lou's mokopuna live next door,

"All the kids are dealing well with it, we have brought the mokopuna up to be humble and not focus on material things - once, one of them went for a sleepover with a friend at school who lived in a fancy gated community, and then the friend was invited over here and there is a just curtain for a toilet door, but that friend accepted who we are. That is how we are - we don't value people by what they have or they don't have, but it is who you are and what you do that matters."

But that toilet curtain's days are certainly numbered as one thing Lou plans to do is give the house "a facelift".

Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti has plans to renovate his house and has engaged a local architect. Photo: John Borren
Lotto winner Lou Te Keeti has plans to renovate his house and has engaged a local architect. Photo: John Borren

He has engaged local architect Stephen Chambers of Stufkens and Chambers.

"He came to have a look, and we have talked about making it more comfortable, sustainable, and work with the land we have. We will still retain some of the structure - so it keeps its essence. It has the wood of a kiwifruit orchard we owned when we were first married."

Is Val okay with the plans?

"Well, she said hello to him. So that is a good start. But what we talked about, I think she will love - it is about giving it longevity so the home is here when we are gone."

Te Keeti has also engaged a lawyer to open his family wai Treaty claim.

"I have put aside a fighting fund for that. Some question why spend time and money on that, but to me it is about claiming what is ours and how at the time, my whanau never had the money to fight for it."

He is also focused on political issues and has been speaking to Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan.

"We've spoken about policy, and I've given my views on what is important for my Maori people.

"This weekend he asked me to accompany him to a meeting at Turangawaewae marae, the Maori King's marae, but I've had to decline that invitation as I have another important thing on with the whanau."

As well as his home renovations, Te Keeti is pursuing another dream of his; to raise a thoroughbred to enter in the Melbourne Cup.

In the paddock he shows the one he has in mind, a brown yearling still suckling on its mother. He is registering its racing name - Powerball.

Could this horse really win the Melbourne Cup?

"Well, he might. Because as we know, anything can happen."