Christmas has come early for a young Auckland woman who says she used her $10 million Powerball prize to help bring her family back together for the first time in more than a dec
The winner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was staying with her parents when she picked up a ticket for Saturday's Lotto draw, which helped to raise funds for the Kaikoura earthquake appeal.
"I was out shopping with mum when she stopped by the supermarket to pick up a few things for dinner, but it was raining and miserable so I decided to stay in the car," explained the winner.
"That's when I remembered about Saturday's special Lotto draw for Kaikoura, so I grabbed my phone and bought a ticket on MyLotto."
It wasn't until she went to bed that night she remembered she'd bought a ticket.
"I was in bed checking social media and all those kinds of things when I thought I might as well see if I'd won anything on my ticket," she said.
"Then I saw 'You have won $10,166,667' pop up next to my ticket; I instantly jumped out of bed and raced to the lounge to tell mum and dad."
The winner says she was in shock and was shaking in her nightie while she told her parents.
"Guys I've won $10,000!" she said.
"Dad was pretty sceptical so he grabbed my phone to double check what I was seeing - that's when he said, 'Honey, that says $10 million, not $10,000.'
"We were absolutely stunned and I raced around the house to check my ticket on every phone and computer we could lay our hands on. I must have logged in and checked it a hundred times that night," the winner laughed.
After visiting Lotto NZ's Auckland head office to confirm the good news, the winner is now looking forward to a very special Christmas with her family.
"My siblings have been living overseas for years now, working hard to try and save enough to come back home one day, buy a house and be close to our parents again.
"When I found out I'd won, I knew I could help them out, so I video called them to share the good news. I was in tears when they picked up the call, so they immediately thought something bad had happened.
"That's when I managed to squeak out between sobs 'I've won Lotto and I'm giving you $1 million'," the winner said.
"It took a bit of convincing, but when they realised I wasn't joking they just lost it.
"This win will really bring my family back together. This will be the first Christmas we've all spent together in more than 12 years."
With the winnings now safely in her bank account and her family on their way home, the winner is now looking forward to making the most of her good fortune.
"A little shopping spree and nice dinner with mum and dad is definitely on the cards - after all, it's not every day you win Powerball," she laughed.
"Other than that, I'm not too sure what I'll do with my winnings. At the moment, I'm just looking forward to everyone coming home. This win is a real gift and I want to make it last."
The winning ticket is the third Powerball First Division prize from an online MyLotto ticket so far this year.