It is 8pm on Saturday and the biggest Lotto Powerball draw in New Zealand history, an eye-watering $50 million must-win prize, has just gone live.

Fittingly, the historic win will happen on a day that is already special and considered by some as lucky in itself - February 29, a leap day.

Exactly how many individual winners there will be will be known just a few minutes later when the all important Powerball number, a digit between 1 and 10, drops in the glass spinning machine.

So imagine realising you are holding the golden ticket - with every number in front of you lined up and the Powerball number too - and then finding out you have to share it with maybe one or two or even 39 others.

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Still lucky or unlucky?

That is exactly what happened two years ago when a record 40 individual tickets from around the country struck gold to take home the First Division $1m prize.

What was expected to be a significantly bigger prize haul turned into a $25,000 reward for each instead - save for two punters who had the right Powerball number, which meant they won an extra $2.5m.

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Just like Saturday's historic draw, that event was the first time Lotto had had so many winners for the one prize since it started in 1987.

The winning numbers that Wednesday night were also a rarity and which were described as a "pleasing" pattern many people tended to use when picking Lotto numbers.

They were: 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 and 13.

People queue on Wedesday to buy Lotto tickets at the Lotto shop and dairy at 977 Dominion Rd, Auckland, as Powerball jackpotted to $42 million. Photo / Michael Craig
People queue on Wedesday to buy Lotto tickets at the Lotto shop and dairy at 977 Dominion Rd, Auckland, as Powerball jackpotted to $42 million. Photo / Michael Craig

The numbers were also very low - another reason that may have resulted in so many winners that day, given people tend to use special dates such as birthdays and anniversaries when filling out a Lotto ticket.

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Wednesday's winning numbers were 30, 8, 2, 33, 21, 3 and 13. The Powerball number was 6.

Given that this Saturday's jackpot was a "must win" draw, it now had a chance to be shared between multiple winners.

SPLIT THE PRIZE, HERALD READERS SAY

The Herald had earlier received an overwhelming response from members of the public calling for the $50m - or future big win prizes - to be split up instead of going to one individual winner.

Many pointed out how much it would benefit 50 families, for example, if each got $1m instead.

"There are many families out there who have problems making ends meet and to give $50 million to one person is outrageous," one woman wrote.

"They need to share this out in all divisions or get rid of Powerball altogether so all those have a better chance."

Another reader wrote: "I believe Lotto should be a must-be-won at least once a month to give people the chance to win.

"I personally would prefer lesser amounts to be won rather than carry-overs. Even $1m is a lot of money for the majority of people."

Others, however, were adamant that big prizes should not be split and acknowledged that that was simply the aim of the game.

One reader said: "I don't think it should be split. It should just jackpot and if you happen to win it - it was meant to be, then you are the lucky one."

A Lotto NZ spokeswoman said bigger prize pools meant more tickets sold and more money to charity.

"Both here and internationally – the game is appealing to more players when the jackpot is high," she said.

"Lotto NZ exist to generate funding for the community with 100 per cent of our profits going to over 3000 good causes every year," she said.

"Large jackpots like this are rare, but provide additional funding to charities and community organisations so they can make a difference in the lives of New Zealanders."

She said that to date there had been 184 Powerball winners in New Zealand.