A young Central Otago man who bought a Lotto ticket on a whim is the lucky winner of the $22.3 million Powerball prize

It is the largest Powerball prize won in the South Island.

"I was scrolling through Facebook when I saw a post that Powerball was $22 million that night. I thought that would be pretty sweet, so I bought a ticket through the Lotto NZ App and didn't think any more of it," said the winner, who is in this 20s.

It wasn't until Thursday evening that he thought to check his ticket.

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"I hadn't heard anything about it to be honest. I was hanging out with my best mate after work when I remembered I'd bought a ticket, so figured I might as well check it.

"I watched the numbers circle off on my ticket. After the first couple I thought that's pretty lucky. Then I saw all six numbers circled and lined up in a row and didn't really know what to think – then the Powerball came as well."

"I said, 'Mate – I think I've won Powerball… is this real?'" the winner said.

His parents were the next to hear the news and had trouble believing he wasn't pulling their legs.

"Mum and Dad didn't believe me – it's the kind of thing I'd pull, so they chalked it up to a joke. The whole thing felt a little too good to be true, so I just put my phone down and went to bed."

Waking up the next morning it all started to sink in.

"I woke up to a message from my Dad with a link to an article saying a $22.3 million

Powerball prize had been won in Central Otago with a MyLotto ticket – that's when I realised what was happening, there are only so many times it can be a coincidence," said the winner.

"I logged into MyLotto and claimed the prize, then decided to give Lotto NZ a call and get to the bottom of things. When they confirmed that I was the big winner I was in absolute shock."

Securing his future was on the forefront of his mind when thinking about spending the money, he said.

"I want to buy a house with some land, maybe a boat. The big thing for me is making sure I really set myself up for the future – this prize is an unbelievable opportunity and I am going to make the most it."

Largest Powerball prizes won in South Island

• $22.3 million, August 2018, MyLotto, Central Otago
• $22.2 million, April 2016, MyLotto, Ashburton
• $20.5 million, November 2012, Windsor Stationery and Lotto, Invercargill
• $20.2 million, February 2012, Hornby Mall Lotto, Christchurch
• $18.2 million, February 2017, MyLotto, Otago