The largest ever individual Powerball prize of $33 million has been snapped up by none other than an Auckland "westie".
The man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he was driving to work and heard on the radio that the prize was still unclaimed, and realised he had bought a ticket from the shop that sold the winning one.
"When I heard it was still unclaimed, I thought, 'you know, it could be me'. But I still went straight to the gym before checking my tickets," the latest Powerball winner, hailing from west Auckland, said.
"I thought, 'well if I've just won $33 million I might not be able to concentrate on getting my exercise done afterwards', I guess I didn't really think it would be me."
It's the largest ever Powerball prize and second largest Lotto individual prize to have been won in New Zealand.
The largest ever individual prize was a Big Wednesday First Division prize worth $36.9 million, won by a family from Masterton in 2009.
The latest winner got his lucky ticket from One Step Ahead in Ponsonby.
The Lotto Powerball number which secured the win was the lucky number of the winner's wife.
"I have my wife to thank - four is her lucky number, which is why I chose it as the Powerball number on this ticket."
While One Step Ahead in Ponsonby has been buzzing over the last couple of days with the news that the big winner was sold there, the man with the winning ticket is still coming to terms with his luck.
"I went into One Step Ahead during the week and was joking with the guy behind the counter about the $22 million Big Wednesday prize and how good it would be to win even a share of that. He wished me good luck, and then I was on my way."
While trying to remain calm, the man said he was actually "stressed on the inside" as he pondered what to do with his win.
Treating friends and family is top of the list. "And maybe my wife would like a new car?
"We've only ever bought second hand cars before. I can't get my head around the fact that we can afford a new car now. I think it will take a while for it to seem real that I've actually won this money."
Comedian Ewen Gilmour, an unofficial spokesman for westies, said he was relieved the money went west after the winning ticket was purchased in the inner-city suburb of Ponsonby.
"If the guy says he is a westie and he is true to his word I think he will be a good bastard. He will be an average Kiwi bloke. That is who it should go to," Gilmour said.
Gilmour pointed to the group of Masterton women who won $36.9 million in 2009 and donated around $1.5 million to the local ambulance service, as how true blue Kiwi winners would use the money.
And the westie charity of choice would most likely be the local bush and beaches, he said.
"Westies, believe it or not for all of our petrol-head antics and our tattoos, we actually really like the environment. That is why there is so much bush out there. I reckon if there is something really close to our heart it has got to be the environment," he said.
Next in line would be the family, according to Gilmour.
"You would take three 3 million and split it into 50,000 lots and give it to your family and cousins and stuff. Just share the love. The fact the guys says that he is westie, makes you think he is a homegrown person." he said.
Because the money is headed to west Auckland the winner will stay humble, Gilmour said.
"Working class people, bro. We’ve all slept on the floor of a friends lounge while we’re getting our shit together, then suddenly you’ve got 33 million," he said.
Gilmour wouldn’t be able to help indulging in some cliche westie purchases, he said, including buying every classic car, motorcycle, and hot rod that he'd ever wanted.
And like the current westside winner, Gilmour would like to stay anonymous, but he would eventually reveal himself with a big party.
“As a Westie you would like to think that he would be a good bastard and he would put on a shindig, he could get ACDC to come in from overseas,” he said.
“What a great idea. Invite everyone you know without telling them you’ve won. So everybody turns up at Western Springs with ACDC and before it starts come and and say: ‘It was me.’ That’s what I would do,” Gilmour said.
Last week a ticket sold in Christchurch won $22.6 million with Big Wednesday. The winner of that prize is yet to come forward.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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