Two Lotto winners who are now enjoying $2.8 million each after Saturday's draw plan to meet up to celebrate their surprise wins.
Both winners were away on family holidays over the New Year-period when they bought the tickets, one from The Market Store in Twizel and one from Fresh Choice Te Anau.
The $5 million draw on January 2 was divided between the two winners who claimed $2.8 million each.
Their prize is made up of $2.5 million from Powerball First Division and $333,333 from Lotto First Division.
The winner who bought their ticket in Twizel said he heard someone from Twizel had won, so checked his ticket on the MyLotto ticket scanner.
"I scanned my ticket several times and the words ‘Major Prize Winner’ kept coming up, so I checked the winning numbers against my ticket, and sure enough I had all of them,” he said. “I went into the store to check my ticket and they confirmed the win – I am the happiest person in the world right now!
“I’m actually really glad that I split the prize with someone else. Some people are probably disappointed to not have won the whole $5 million – but I am really happy that someone else won too.”
The man says he wants to take some time to decide how to spend his winnings – but helping out immediate family will be his priority. The man says he regularly supports local charities and is thrilled to be able to continue helping others in need and to make a difference in the lives of people who are genuinely struggling.
The winner who bought their ticket in Te Anau says it is certainly a holiday to remember.
“I’m still trying to get my head around it – it’s mind boggling," he said.
The man also checked his ticket the night of the draw and was in shock when he realised that he had won. Back home now, he is looking forward to meeting the person he split the prize with so they can celebrate together.
“Once I heard that we had split the prize with another South Island winner I was keen to celebrate together – and thankfully they are also keen to meet with us.
"It’s awesome that there is someone else going through the exact same experience as us – both winning while away on holiday. And the fact that we live in the same area makes it even more special. I’m sure it will be a celebration to remember!”