Could Whangarei be New Zealand's luckiest town?
Since December, three of its residents have become instant millionaires, thanks to Bonus Bonds - a cluster unheard of in the prize draw's history.
"It's incredibly lucky," said Glenn Stevenson, head of Bonus Bonds for ANZ.
Bonus Bonds was founded in 1970 as a savings scheme that pays out tax-free cash prizes rather than interest.
For the first Whangarei winner, in December last year, the windfall came after a year of tertiary education and just as she was considering signing up for the unemployment benefit.
"It was perfect timing. I didn't believe it at first."
The second winner, a recent retiree, was in the shower when he got a call to say he had won.
"My wife answered the phone and said it was one phone call that was worth getting out of the shower for, so I took the call.
"It was an awesome piece of news. It has opened up a world of wonderful opportunities to enjoy our retirement. Now we'll be able to enjoy going away on holiday a lot more."
The couple hasn't told anyone - not even their family - about the win, but will keep some money aside to help family out.
The third winner, in June, thought the call was a hoax.
"When I realised it was real I was incredibly excited. I did a little skip after I got off the phone.
"Part of this win will go towards building a house on a piece of property by the beach that we recently bought.
"It's very exciting."
None of the winners would be named.
Bonus Bonds gives away $1m in each month's prize draw, along with several smaller amounts.
- Sunday Star Times
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