Lotto will soon start searching for winner of massive $33.5m Powerball prize who has yet to come forward

A week has passed and still, the winner of the massive $33.5 million Powerball draw has yet to come forward but Lotto said they'll start "actively" searching for them very soon. 

The winning ticket was sold at Merivale Mall's Fresh Choice supermarket in Christchurch, with Lotto's head of communications Lucy Fullarton confirming to AM the shopper had yet to claim their prize.

Fullarton told AM co-host Laura Tupou the winner has a year to come forward to claim their prize. 

"No one's got in touch to say they've lost it and you have a year to claim," she said. 

"So 12 months from the date of the draw. So there's still a long time to go, but obviously, we don't let that go too long with these major winners."

As the search continues for the lucky winner, Fullarton said if it got to the point in 12 months' time that still, no one had come forward, then the money would go back to the community. 

"As you probably know, 100 percent of our profits are distributed back to the community, so any unclaimed prizes go into a special fund and then ultimately are distributed back," she said. 

"But it's only a tiny, tiny fraction that goes unclaimed and we've never had a big Powerball prize go unclaimed. We've always found the winner." 

She told AM Lotto's seen a couple of instances of big Powerball winners not coming forward to claim their life-changing money after a couple of weeks. 

But she revealed it would get to a point where Lotto would start "actively" searching for the winner. 

"So back in 2013, actually also in Christchurch, there was a $22 million winner who didn't claim and we did manage to find him," she said.

"Our CEO turned up on his doorstep and just politely suggested he check his Lotto ticket, so that was a bit of a surprise for him but yes, after a couple of weeks we do start actively looking for people." 

Fullarton told AM they have multiple ways they would find the winner including looking at CCTV footage from the time of the ticket sale to try and identify the winner. 

"There's obviously quite a robust process around it because this is such an important area for us, getting our big prizes to our winners. So yeah, we have a whole series of things we can do, CCTV is one option," she said.

A Lotto spokesperson said they will announce when the money has been claimed. 

Wednesday's winner is the ninth Powerball multi-millionaire of 2023, the win coming just over a month after a $10.5 million Powerball prize was secured by an Auckland couple. 

Tickets can be checked in-store, on MyLotto, or through the MyLotto App. Players can phone Lotto NZ on 0800 695 6886 if they want to enquire about the best way to claim a prize.