Last Updated: Wednesday 24th May 2006, 14:04 pm
Saturday night of 20th May made New Zealand lottery history when a single Powerball player won almost $18 million. The winning ticket was sold by a convenience store in Kaeo, which is a small community in Whangaroa in the Northland. The store had been burgled recently and was only licensed to sell lottery tickets a few months ago.
Previously, the record for New Zealand’s biggest ever Lotto win stood at $15.3 million – a figure achieved last September by a winner in Auckland.
“While the rest of the nation speculated about who has won the huge windfall, the lucky winners remained oblivious to their incredible luck,” said Warren Salisbury, NZ Lotteries Deputy Chief Executive.
The winner has requested to remain anonymous, but said in a statement:
“We had not seen the draw, or heard any of the media coverage. We did not know where it had been sold.
“Out of the blue we got a call from a relative who had heard the winning ticket was sold in Kaeo. We quickly asked him to check the numbers for us on teletext. Initially he read a number out incorrectly, so we thought we’d had a good Second Division Powerball win.
“But then we got the correct numbers, and could not believe it when they matched ours. We had to check the ticket five or six times.
“It really hasn’t sunk in yet, we are absolutely stunned. We are just ordinary people but now we get to live an extraordinary life.”