A young couple with children who had just been turned down for a mortgage to buy their first home has won the $44 million Lotto Powerball draw.
The couple, from Auckland's Hibiscus Coast, want to remain anonymous but said in a statement released by Lotto that the win is going to change their lives "epically"
"We’ve been busting our guts trying to buy our first home," the winner said.
"We just went to the mortgage broker earlier this week to see what they could do to help. But they just couldn’t make anything work for us.
"We were absolutely gutted and I just said ‘maybe that ship has sailed'.
"But my wife tried to stay positive and said 'don't worry, something good will happen for us' - I don't think either of us thought that the something good would be $44 million.
"We’re definitely going to have a couple drinks tonight to celebrate.
The winner said he was on a smoko break when he decided to check his ticket.
"I saw that I had three numbers in a row, so I quickly checked that I had the Powerball number and then went back and checked the rest of the numbers.
"As soon as I saw I had all the numbers on one line I just yelled 'holy shit!' – my boss thought I'd chopped my arm off with a saw."
The winner then jumped in his car and headed to a nearby Lotto store to officially check his ticket, busily trying to phone his wife the whole way there.
"As I was driving to the store, they were talking about the big win on the radio and I started screaming out 'that's me!'"
When he finally got through to his wife at work she had trouble believing that it was real.
"I saw a couple of missed calls from him and I thought something was up. I picked up the phone and said ‘babe, are you ok?'" the winner's wife said.
"He said 'we won'. At first I thought he was joking, but he managed to convince me. My head started spinning, my heart was racing and I got the shakes."
The couple visited Lotto NZ’s head office on Thursday afternoon to claim their prize in person.
"As we sat in the winner’s room, he kept turning to me and saying 'Am I in a dream?' and I kept turning to him and saying 'is this real?'" the winner's wife said.
"I just wish I could have seen his face when he found out we'd won," she laughed.
With $44 million arriving in their bank account overnight, the couple have a lot of decisions to make about how to spend their money.
"We want to be really smart about how we manage this money, so we're going to take our time. We just can't believe how lucky we are," the winner's wife said.
"All we know at the moment is that we’re going to give the kids a really great Christmas this year."
The couple will continue working and would prefer to remain anonymous.
The Strike jackpot went to one player, who bought their ticket at Royal Oak Mall Lotto in Auckland and will take home $358,175 - while 14 others will get a $66,667 share of the first division prize.
Lotto says more than 2.3 million tickets were sold.
The previous biggest Lotto prize given to a single winner was the $36 million won by a Masterton family in June 2009.
New Zealand's Top 10 Lotto wins:
Newshub / NZN