“The cream, the cake and the icing” is how one of 10 lucky Lotto winners described their $30 million prize.
Winner Tina, who only wants to be known by her first name, spoke for the rest of the group with a glass of champagne in hand. She said it was great the massive prize was split between 10 of them, giving them each $3.025m.
“Which makes it a lovely amount for each individual person.
“The most common thing I’ve heard is they’re going to help their families. Make it easier for their children to get into a house or have no mortgage. Just give them a boost.
“It’s sharing the love that’s for sure.”
Tina first got an inkling they had won at 11pm on Saturday night when she saw a note on Facebook that the winning ticket was purchased from the Richmond Superette in Taupo.
After checking her numbers online Tina was compelled to share the news and called every woman in the syndicate.
“The more people I told it to the more real it became.
“It was like the inquisition. They said ‘you’re kidding, you’re joking, you’re pulling my leg’.”
They had started their syndicate five years ago after they all became friends working in a Dunedin dental clinic. Every week the women, who are in their 50s and 60s, put in $2 each and purchased a $20 lucky dip.
Now Tina lives in Taupo and some of the others have moved too.
The winning ticket was kept safely in a Christmas card behind a picture frame in Tina’s house before the group brought it into the Auckland Lotto Headquarters.
It took them days to organise leave from work so they could all come up together prompting Lotto to issue a notice urging the winners to get in touch.
“No one called in sick on Monday, because that’s the kind of ladies we are. Keep calm and carry on,” Tina said.
“Now that it’s all happened we can exhale. We’ve all been holding our breath. I’ve been exploding with it.”
The money will appear in each of the women’s bank accounts tonight.
Tina was keen to take a holiday with her winnings and wanted to do a musical tour of America, making a pit stop in the home of blues and jazz music – New Orleans.
But in the meantime the group will go out for a nice dinner in Auckland tonight, drink more champagne and just enjoy being together, she said. It’s the first time they’ve all spent time together in two years.
“All I can say is I’m a happy, healthy person so I have a good life anyway. But I’ve got the cream, the cake and the icing [now].”
Now that they’ve gone public life will be about returning to normal Tina said. The first thing she planned to buy tomorrow was “a cup of joe”. And she wouldn’t quit work either. Tina currently works three days a week at a Taupo dental practice.
“I work in the most lovely workplace. There’s no way I’m giving up my job. I do three days a week. I’ve said – I think I might do two.”
Laughter and clapping erupted as Tina rejoined her friends in the winners’ room after the interview.
Before the prize was claimed Taupo’s mayor had a message for the owner of the unclaimed ticket bought there last weekend: “Come out wherever you are.”
Mayor David Trewavas correctly believed a local may have won the big money, as the superette the ticket was sold at is not in a spot frequented by tourists.
“The big talk is it should be local by rights, because, you know, it’s a suburban shopping centre that’s not exposed to the tourist traffic,” he said.
On top of that, there were no big events on last week that may have drawn in visitors.
“So yeah, it’s interesting times.”
Trewavas bought a ticket himself, but was not the lucky winner.
He said $30 million could get someone quite a long way in Taupo.
With that kind of money, the winner could buy a motel or hotel complex, a bungee jump operation, a jet boat operation, “a nice big boat”, and a lakeside home – and hopefully leave a little change.
Big wins in Lotto history:
• $36.8m Big Wednesday prize – Masterton – June 2009
• $$30.25m Powerball – Taupo – September 2017
•$28.7m Powerball – Papakura – October 2010
•$27m Big Wednesday prize – Tauranga September 2012
•$33m Powerball prize – West Auckland – September 2013
•$44m Powerball prize – Dairy Flat – November 2016
The largest prize won by a single ticket was $44,066,667, in the Powerball draw of November 9 2016. The winning ticket was sold at Dairy Flat Food Mart in Auckland.
Most tickets sold
The greatest number of tickets sold for a draw was for the aforementioned Powerball draw of November 9, 2016.
The record for the most First Division winners in one draw was set on September 11, 1993, when 38 people won First Division. Each winner received $35,937. The main contributing factor was all the winning numbers were between 31 and 38, with the bonus number the only number to fall outside the group – 11.