'It can't be a local or we'd know by now'
The mystery of Kihikihi's overnight millionaire is now a couple of days old and locals are almost certain the winner's from out of town.
The town of 2000, just South of Te Awamutu, has one Lotto shop - the Kihikihi Bookshop - owned by Young and Susie Yeo.
For the last two days the couple have held their breath every time they heard the ring of the door opening, wondering if someone was stopping by to check their $5.5 million winning ticket.
Yesterday afternoon it had got to the stage where customers popping in for bread and milk had been apologising upon entry so they did not get their hopes up.
"They might be on their way to Wellington," Mr Yeo said.
"With the ticket taped to their chest," his wife added.
Viands Bakery co-owner Shane Kearns has been painstakingly perfecting his pie recipes for the national awards in Auckland this week but even he was momentarily swept away by the lure of the lottery.
"I went home straight from work to check my ticket.
"My wife was very happy prior to me checking it, then when it wasn't the winner it was all my fault," he laughed.
No one had ordered any fancy cakes since the draw on Saturday and Mr Kearns suspected the big prize had been taken out by someone passing through the town.
Tractor mechanic Bill Blackwood, who has lived in the town for the last 30 years, said his wife bought lotto tickets "now and again" but she had been sick at the weekend and missed out on the weekend's draw.
Not that he was kicking himself.
"I wouldn't like it, it's a lot of hassle," he said. "I wouldn't know what to do with [the money]."
Whoever it was, he hoped the winner was someone who needed it.
The lively Star Tavern was buzzing with talk of the big win but duty manager Leah Katene-Te Huia was sure it was not one of the regulars.
"It can't be a local or we'd know by now," shouted "Gary" from across the bar.
"We thought it was him yesterday," he said, gesturing at his mate. "But he came in today."
They wished the Times luck with the hunt and made sure the winners were pointed in the direction of the tavern if the search was successful.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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