In just one year Lou Te Keeti has won $10.3 million, spent $5.8m and gained 19 racehorses, 37 cows and 60 birds.

While the horses will soon settle into a new architectural $100,000 wood-lined dwelling with luxury gates, Te Keeti is still in his old house with the wood fire, and hasn't even bought himself a new pair of gumboots.

It is one year since the Tauranga kaumātua purchased a winning Lotto ticket which scooped him $10.3m in the Powerball jackpot.

When he saw all the zeros hit his bank account he collapsed in what the doctor later diagnosed as a "state of euphoria", but 12 months on, he is very much grounded.


"It hasn't changed me. What you see is what you get. The roosters still wake me at 4am; I still get up to do my chores. I go down to the local Four Square in my old clothes, and the ladies say, 'Lou you haven't changed one bit'."

He and wife Val shelved plans to use some of the winnings to renovate their home, even after getting plans from an architect and landscaper.

"In the end, we decided there were too many good memories in these walls. We had a family meeting, and the kids said they didn't want to lose their bedrooms and Val said she didn't like anything brand new or people messing with her garden, so that was that."

Lou Te Keeti has now spent nearly $6m of his Lotto prize. Photo / Jaden McLeod
Lou Te Keeti has now spent nearly $6m of his Lotto prize. Photo / Jaden McLeod

The only ones moving into a new abode will be the 19 racehorses that Te Keeti has spent $2m on.

"It surprised me that Val agreed to it. But horses have always been the only thing her and I have ever agreed on – we argue every day about most other things, always have and always will."

The couple recently renewed their vows at their 50th wedding celebration with 180 guests at the marae.

"I did buy a new suit for that but have only worn it the once. I don't know when I will wear it again."

Te Keeti bought Val 37 cows worth $1000 each, but she won't be turning them into steak.


"If I had my way the cows and the half a dozen sheep up on the hill should be in the deep freeze, but to Val, they are all pets. Expensive lawnmowers to me."

Other indulgences include $190,000 on a black S series Mercedes shipped from Germany, a couple of "his and her" Suzuki Swifts, $30,000 on a new tractor and mower, and $30,000 on a secondhand campervan.

"I would have bought a new one if I thought Val would actually go anywhere but the furthest we have been in it is Papamoa beach."

He hasn't been able to get Val to agree to a cruise or even a trip to Australia.

"But we did go to Rotorua for the day."

Lou Te Keeti now owns 19 racehorses. Photo / Jaden McLeod
Lou Te Keeti now owns 19 racehorses. Photo / Jaden McLeod

The couple have given their children and seven mokopuna "enough to be comfortable", donated $300,000 to local charities, paid for the tar sealing and fencing of the road to the urupā, bought a minibus for the kuia, and established a $150,000 education fund for primary school children to help with uniforms and other costs of school.

Te Keeti says he and Val do not forget how life was sometimes a struggle before their win.

"That feeling at the end of the month, worrying about the power and bills. We don't have that now we have a few bob, but I am still a socialist at heart and I know how many in our community are struggling."

His realisation of the gap between "the haves and the have-nots" has been accentuated by the win.

"I've observed how people treat you differently if they perceive you have wealth, and there's something wrong about that."

The couple has no special plans to mark the anniversary of the win.

They will do what they do every Saturday evening, have a boil-up –"Val still jumps in the drain to get the watercress", and some fish heads, followed by a few cold ones at the social club.

"Val will have a few whiskeys. I will have two or three stubbies. Maybe four if the company is good. Then home."

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