Tina from Taupō won $30m Lotto jackpot with her friends

Tina from Taupō and nine of her friends won Saturday's $30 million Lotto jackpot.
AMANDA SAXTON/STUFF

Tina from Taupō and nine of her friends won Saturday's $30 million Lotto jackpot.

The winners of Saturday's $30 million Lotto jackpot are 10 "dental professionals" from all round New Zealand.

The 10 women, aged in their 50s and 60s, each got $3 million of the winnings.

One of the winners, Tina from Taupō, spoke to Stuff on Thursday and said the real excitement of the win was sharing the news with the others.

"It all started about five years ago down in Dunedin," said Tina, who did not want her last name published. She set up the syndicate while the friends all worked for the same dentistry business in the deep south.

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"Our lives have taken different paths since then, and we're spread around the country — so this win's really just a fabulous excuse to get back together," she said.

Tina administrates the syndicate: she buys 10 week blocks of tickets that everyone contributes $20 towards. They had previously won $12,000, but Tina said she had always believed they would hit a bigger jackpot one day.

"When we won $12,000 we thought 'that's lovely, now onwards and upwards' ... But I don't think we'll top $30 million," she said.

She wasn't watching Lotto on the evening of their big win, but saw that the $30 million ticket came from Taupō  — from the Richmond Heights Superette — on social media later that night.

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"I had to think 'now where did I buy that Lotto ticket?' and yes! It was from that superette," she said.

Tina was calm as the realisation sank in: "the real excitement for me was sharing the news with the girls," she said.

It was late at night "and no one was picking up that phone" when she called them, so she left "urgent yet somewhat cryptic" messages to call her back.

"They thought I was pulling a prank, actually," she said.  "It took 12 or 14 hours before everyone was on the same page."

The women made it up to Lotto's Newmarket office on Thursday — large wins like theirs can only be collected in Auckland — to collect their millions together.

Tina described her syndicate as a "bunch of really grounded, really lovely people".

"No one's going to go ape-s... over this ... it's just giving us lovely freedom and choices," she said.

Tina said her life had been "business as usual" since winning and that "wise investments rather a than a big spend up" would follow.

"I love, love love my job, so will keep working, but I think I'll drop from three to two days a week," she said.

"There's going to be a bit more Tina pampering too — which for me is being with family and friends.

"There's going to be a huge ripple effect because it's not just me, it's ten of us, plus our families. This win will be enjoyed by many, many people."

 - Stuff

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