The winner of Saturday night's $12 million Lotto Powerball ticket has stepped forward to claim his prize, buying the ticket on a weekend away for his birthday.
Wishing to remain anonymous, the winner was holidaying in Wanaka to celebrate his birthday as a special treat, only buying the ticket after going to the supermarket.
"We just wanted a quiet night in to celebrate my birthday with our friends, so went to New World to pick up something special for dinner – lamb and a salad," the winner said.
"As we headed out to the car we saw the queue at the Lotto counter and decided to pick up a ticket. It was quite busy though, so there was a bit of a wait – we nearly left the line, actually."
"He was getting a bit impatient and wanted to head back to the house, but I wouldn't let him," laughed the winner's wife. "After all, what's another couple of minutes?"
The winner only took notice of the winning numbers after it was announced online that the winning ticket was bought in the Wanaka New World.
"When I saw that the winning ticket had been sold at the same shop we bought our ticket from, I knew I had to check it.
"I pulled up the winning numbers on MyLotto and checked them off – and there they were, all in a row on line F," said the winner.
"He casually called out – 'come here, I think we've won Lotto'. I thought we'd maybe won $20 or so, there was nothing in his voice that hinted at just how big the prize was," said the winner's wife.
After everyone had checked the ticket and realised how much they had won, the couple thought of ways they could keep the ticket safe.
Heading back to Auckland on Sunday morning, they didn't want to misplace the little piece of paper during their travels.
"We wanted something that was a decent size, so we could see at glance that it was still safely tucked away. My friend ratted through the house and found an old box inside a cupboard, so we hid the ticket inside that.
"We had a few errands to run first thing on Monday, so we ticked them off the list before we headed in to Lotto NZ's head office to claim the prize. I just left the box with the ticket inside it hidden under the front seat of the car," the winner said.
The pair said they had not told their children of their winnings and plan to help out those around them with the money.
"We haven't even told the kids yet, so that's the next big thing to do – it'll be a pretty memorable moment, that's for sure!
"As for what we'll do, we definitely want to help people – this win will go a lot further than our immediate family.
"We both love traveling and sports, so might treat the family to trip to Japan for the Rugby World Cup next year – or even the Olympics," the winner said.
This Powerball win is the seventh time it has been struck so far this year.
It is the second Powerball First Division prize won in the South Island in 2018 following a $20.2 million Powerball win in Christchurch in February.
This win is the largest prize ever claimed in Central Otago and the ninth largest prize ever won in the South Island.