The mystery of the $17 million Lotto winner is over - the ticket has been claimed

After three weeks of national intrigue the winner has now come forward to collect their prize.

And incredibly the country's newest millionaire deliberately waited several days to claim their money.

"I wasn't in a rush to claim the prize – and I needed some time to process things. It's all been very surreal," the winner said today.

"Once I heard about the big win, I checked my ticket and couldn't believe it when I saw I had all of the numbers. I had to re-check the ticket multiple times before I was convinced that I had won – and even then I kept going back and looking at the ticket to make sure I had got it right. I just couldn't believe it – I'm still in shock."


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The ticket was sold at the Market Store in Twizel for the December 28 draw.

"This is going to change our lives – what an amazing way to start the year," the winner said in a statament.

The winner is focused on how they can help others with the win, including plans to pay off the mortgages of close family members. They are also planning some overseas travel – something they never thought would be a possibility.

"I've travelled a little, but never thought I would ever have the chance to travel more. I have so many options now, and life will be so much easier."

Some of the $17.1m windfall will also be given to a "number of charities".

Lotto organisers had been considering hiring a private investigator to find the Twizel winner but the person came forward on their own accord.