Nervous bus ride for Powerball winner

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An woman who won $17.2 million with Powerball kept her ticket in a safe place at her home for two very-nervous weeks, before she caught the bus to Lotto NZ’s Auckland head office to claim her prize this week.

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, said “I was sitting on the bus saying to myself ‘keep it cool, keep it cool’ but I was looking around me thinking ‘I’m sitting here with a $17 million ticket!’” laughed the woman.

The lucky winner is a regular Lotto player and had chosen her own Lotto numbers for the Powerball draw on Saturday, December 29. She was at home on the evening of the draw and thought she might as well check her ticket against the results on MyLotto.

"As I checked each number and one by one saw they matched the ones on my ticket… well, it was truly a surreal experience," says the woman.

"I was at home by myself and I was so excited, but I also started crying - I felt so overwhelmed,” said the woman.

She immediately called her brother, but it was a bad phone line and she wasn’t able to get the news out.

She called her mother instead, who in true ‘Mum style’ was immediately focussed on the practicalities.

"When Mum picked up the phone I burst out ‘Mum I’ve won $17 million!’, and my Mum said, ‘that is a lot of money!’ and then immediately started giving me advice on how to invest it – she knows a lot about finance and had some good ideas."

The next day the winner was travelling on an Auckland bus and saw the news pop up on the bus TV screen that an Aucklander had won $17 million on Powerball.

"I was like – that is me! And I just had to keep telling myself to keep it cool, but I had a big smile on my face,” said the woman.

She decided to take the ticket in person to Lotto NZ’s head office when it reopened in the new year rather than claiming her prize over the phone or in store over the Christmas period, which meant a nervous wait for the lucky woman.

"I was very nervous waiting to hand the ticket over!"

Then followed the bus ride of her life, with the ticket closely guarded the whole way.

With her prize safely claimed and no longer needing to worry about losing her lucky yellow ticket, the woman is looking forward to helping out her family and investing the money for her future.

"I haven’t been sleeping since I found out about my win, I woke up this morning at 4am! I’m looking forward to getting a good rest and am so excited for the future - this win is truly going to be life changing."

The winning ticket was sold at Victoria Street Lotto & Newsagency for the draw on Wednesday, December 29, 2021.

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