As many New Zealanders return to work this week after the Christmas holidays, Lotto NZ is looking for a player who may want to extend their holiday.

The $6.5 million Powerball prize was won on December 27 by a ticket sold at Levin Lucky Lotto.

"It's been almost two weeks, and this life-changing prize still hasn't been claimed," said Lotto NZ's general manager of corporate communications Emilia Mazur.

"We're encouraging anyone who bought a ticket from Levin Lucky Lotto late last year to check their ticket – it could be worth $6.5m.

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"Or maybe someone received a Lotto ticket as a gift – in which case, we recommend you shake out your Christmas card and see if that little yellow ticket is about to change your life."

The store that sold the winning Powerball ticket was busier than usual over Christmas, meaning the winning ticket could be almost anywhere.

"Our store is always busier over the Christmas period, with locals coming in to grab presents and with visitors stopping off as they drive through on their holidays," said Levin Lucky Lotto owner Dave Lyons.

"The store has been buzzing over the past two weeks, with people coming in to see if their ticket is the winner or to see if anyone has claimed the prize yet."

Despite the surge in customers visiting the store to check their Lotto tickets, the Powerball winner remains at large.

Levin Lucky Lotto store owner Dave Lyons said the shop has been buzzing for the past two weeks as people try to guess who the winner is. Photo/supplied
Levin Lucky Lotto store owner Dave Lyons said the shop has been buzzing for the past two weeks as people try to guess who the winner is. Photo/supplied

"But the rumour mill is in overdrive and I've heard all sorts of different stories about who people think the winner might be," said Dave.

The Powerball First Division prize is the 15th First Division winning ticket Levin Lucky Lotto has sold over the years and their first Powerball win.

"While it's unusual for a prize of this size to go unclaimed for a long period, it's not unheard of," said Mazur.

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"This could be an amazing start to the year for somebody – but before they can start spending their windfall, they first need to claim their prize."

Anyone who purchased their ticket from Levin Lucky Lotto in Levin is encouraged to write their name on the back of the ticket and check it immediately at any Lotto outlet, online at MyLotto.co.nz or through Lotto NZ App.

Players can phone Lotto on 0800 695 6886 to find out how to claim a prize.

Most winners are quick to claim their winnings, but major prizes sometimes go unclaimed for a period of time.

In 2017, a Gisborne couple took two weeks to claim a Powerball prize of $6.5m. They knew straight away that they'd won, but wanted to take their time before claiming to give them time to think about how to manage their windfall.

In 2014, Hamilton Lotto players searched for a Powerball ticket worth $16m for 10 days before the winners thought to check their ticket.

In 2013, a $22m prize remained unclaimed in Christchurch for more than three weeks before the winner was united with his life-changing prize. The winner was in no hurry to check his ticket, as he believed the prize had already been claimed.

Kiwis this week stand to win $7m in Wednesday's Powerball.