As the country braces for tonight's record $50 million Lotto Powerball draw, the couple who claimed our single biggest win have handed out their advice to potential instant multi-millionaires, including telling them "don't have a heart attack".

A young Hibiscus Coast couple scooped $44m with the ticket they had purchased in November 2016.

Like tonight, that prize was offered in a Powerball Must Win draw.

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With less than six hours remaining before tonight's draw, Lotto NZ has released advice those lucky winners provided for future newly-minted Kiwi Lotto players.

"First of all, don't have a heart attack! That's the most important thing to remember," laughed the one of the winners.

"But seriously, my best piece of advice is to remember to eat and sleep in the first two weeks. It's the little things like that that are easy to forget in the early days after a big win.

"Finally, the best thing we did was get good financial advice. Make sure they're on the same wave length as you and go into the conversation with a good idea of what you want to do long-term."

And when asked how to celebrate, the winners said: "Get all the family you want to tell together and let them know the good news straight away – it's so nice having people to talk to as you get your head around it.

"If you're planning on giving gifts, explain the 'what' and 'how' to them upfront so everyone is on the same page. Sharing the winnings is most of the fun – it's a moment you'll never forget."

Lotto NZ confirmed this afternoon 2000 tickets a minute had been sold today. And 1.9m tickets had been sold as of 3.30pm.

Earlier this morning, Marie Winfield, Head of Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility at Lotto NZ, said outlets were flat out providing tickets for hopeful winners around the country.


"There is an incredible buzz around the country as Lotto players from all over New Zealand get a ticket for the largest draw in Lotto history," Winfield said.

"There are already 1.3 million tickets in to win with tonight's draw – 1 million more than we have usually sold at the same point with a $5m jackpot. That's a massive 300 per cent increase and the day's not over yet.

"Lotto NZ recommends that anyone who wants to be in to win for tonight's draw gets their ticket early to avoid the queues. We wish everyone around the country the best of luck for tonight's draw."

Sandringham man Pierre Philip is one of the scores of Kiwis hoping to get rich in the $50 million Lotto draw tonight. New Zealand Herald photograph / Jason Oxenham
Sandringham man Pierre Philip is one of the scores of Kiwis hoping to get rich in the $50 million Lotto draw tonight. New Zealand Herald photograph / Jason Oxenham

It is estimated tickets sold tonight will top the 2 million mark.

After the Hibiscus Coast $44m windfall, the next highest single win was $33m, bought from OneStep Ahead in Auckland in 2013, followed by $30m from Richmond Superette in Taupo in 2017.

The most recent Powerball prize, a cool $17.1m, was in late December after a customer bought a ticket from The Market Store in Twizel.

In October, two separate Lotto winners from Auckland split a Powerball jackpot of $38m, taking home $19.1m each.

And two years ago a record 40 individual ticket holders shared a First Divison prize worth more than $1m.

The previous record for tickets entered into a single draw in Lotto history took place in July 2016 when 2.4 million tickets were sold for the $40 million Must Be Won Draw.

The big winners from last night's draw now await a date with Lotto NZ's head office in Auckland, where a special room stocked with champagne, chocolate and even tissues for the emotional types, will also be presented with book offering tips on how to come to terms with their new-found wealth.

"The decision about what you do with your winnings is entirely yours – you will shape your future," the 60-page book states.

"We hope this booklet helps you to understand the steps ahead of you, make your goals easier to reach and, of course, enjoy your winnings!

"We wish you all the best for the future, and hope you'll look back on the day you found out you were a winner as one of the happiest days of your life."

One of the steps Lotto advised winners to follow was to create a timetable for action to help work out what winners wanted to do with their money.

Immediate action included deciding on who to tell, depositing money in an interesting-earning back account, consider purchases and a timeline on what to spend, talk to family and close friends about what you could do and also decide whether they should seek professional advice.

Within a month of the win, newly cashed up Kiwis were told to work within their new financial position, prioritise what to do with money including making a list of priorities and visit a financial adviser.

Winners were also urged to update their will, or if they didn't already have one, get one completed.

Watch: Lotto's latest ad offers twist ending. /Supplied

Advice from previous winners included;

Think before you spend: It's best to spend some time to think about your win and what you really want to do with the money before you start forking out,

Secrecy: Be really careful who you decide to tell about your good fortune,

Financial advice: Getting help from a professional, they know what they're up to,

Have fun: It's important to remember to take time to do the things you've always wanted to do for fun, once you've locked in funds for the future.

Statistics released from Lotto showed 85 per cents of big winners kept working, including remaining in the same job as before, 98 per cent still regularly purchased Lotto tickets, while 73 per cent revealed they had won via a Lucky Dip ticket.

Nineteen per cent said they had only shared their winning news solely with their partners, 31 per cent told their immediate family, 8 per cent told everybody they knew and 5 per cent kept the big to themselves.