Lotto: Whakatāne couple ‘gobsmacked’ after mega $8.3 million win

It was a “head in the clouds” moment for one lucky Bay of Plenty couple after they won $8.3 million in Powerball last Saturday off a ticket bought at their local store.

In a statement from Lotto NZ, the couple, who wished to remain anonymous, said they had no idea they were Aotearoa’s latest multimillionaires until days later. They heard the winning ticket had been sold at their local store, Whakatāne’s Halfway Store, and wondered if it could be them.

“I bought a Triple Dip on Saturday morning but forgot about it until Monday afternoon when I was driving home and heard on the radio that someone from Whakatāne had won the big one,” the man said.

“My heart was thumping, and I thought, ‘Hang on, that could be me’!”

The man raced home and checked his ticket on the MyLotto app.

“I looked at my numbers, and straight away, all my numbers matched. I thought, ‘No way’!”After walking around dazed like a stunned mullet, I waited for my wife to get home to share the good news.

“We sat down, and I told her someone from Whakatāne had won $8.3 million. I made her check the ticket on the app, and when she realised we had all six numbers and the Powerball number, she was gobsmacked.”

The win was made up of Powerball’s $8m plus a one-third share of division one’s million dollars.

The couple celebrated with a few drinks before sharing the wonderful news with their children.

“We called them up, and they were rapt — everyone was so happy for us,” the man said.

After a night of restless sleep, the couple claimed their prize the next day in store.

“After the retail operators checked our ticket and confirmed we’d won, we started crying and jumping up and down,” the man said.

“We still can’t believe it. We feel incredibly lucky.

“We plan to keep working and invest a big part of the prize — not only for our children but also our moko. We want to create something valuable for the future generations.”

Whakatāne store owner says they have ‘lucky touch’

Sophie Fang, of Whakatāne’s Halfway Store, said she started “screaming” when she realised they sold the winning ticket.

It’s not the store’s first big win, with the family store selling the winning $12.25m ticket last June — its biggest winning ticket.

Fang was at home when she got the news from a staff member, to which she excitedly responded: “Really? Oh my goodness.”

She searched online and started “screaming” when she saw it was true.

“It’s unbelievable.”

Fang said it felt like “a dream”, but she woke up and it was real.

She said their store, owned for nearly 12 years, was “lucky” because it had sold three first-division winners and last year’s $12m prize, the Strike first division last month, and now this.

Fang said she felt they became lucky in the past few years, and while she wasn’t sure where it came from. She joked it was their “lucky touch” when passing on the tickets to punters.