Kaikoura is buzzing with speculation about who won $8.6 million in cash and prizes in Big Wednesday.
The first division winning ticket was sold at Kaikoura New World.
Supermarket owner Rodney Flannery said the news was fantastic for the town, and had come as a real surprise for him and wife Trish.
The couple were hosting members of the New World Group and had taken them bowling for the evening when he received an email with the news. "I was told to keep it quiet but within no time the bell was rung and it was announced. News travels pretty quick with Facebook and Twitter." Speculation about the lucky winner would create quite a buzz around town for some time, he said.
Plenty of people had asked staff if they knew who it was.
He was told it was the ninth biggest win for the South Island, and he and his staff were hoping the money and prizes had gone to a Kaikoura resident. "It would be nice to think it's a local but we've got no idea.
"There is quite a bit going on in Kaikoura at this time of year and we may never know."
People on the streets of Kaikoura were eager to learn the winner's identity and to imagine what they would do if they won.
Nadine Pattison said she thought the chances of it being a local winner were greater than if it was Saturday draw, as fewer tourists knew about Big Wednesday. "I wonder if we'll find out - we may not," she said. "I normally buy a ticket but I didn't this week. When I heard I thought: wow, I hope it's a local. It's a big deal."
She would have still gone into work yesterday morning to open up if she had won but would have taken the rest of the day off to have her blood pressure checked by a doctor, she said.
Julie Ratcliffe said she would not tell anyone if she had won and would also be back at work, albeit with a huge grin on her face. "I would share it around but I'd do it as anonymously as possible.
"I wouldn't give up my day job - not immediately anyway."
Moana Manawatu said she would stay in Kaikoura and continue working but would take her family on holiday first.
"I would invest locally . . . if it was more than $8m, say $23m, I'd build an indoor pool."
- The Marlborough Express
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