By Kate Northrop
NAPIER, New Zealand — One lucky New Zealand couple was surprised to learn that they held the tenth and final second-tier winning ticket for the country's $51.6 million (US$33.7 million) Lotto Powerball jackpot last week.
It started off as an innocent trip to the store to check a lone lottery ticket, one week after the draw on Saturday, August 15, 2020. The couple went to the retailer they purchased the ticket from, Andrew Spence Pharmacy on Maadi Road in Onekawa, which is considered the second luckiest Lotto store in Hawke's Bay after Unichem Stortford Lodge Pharmacy in Hastings.
"It was a 'can you please check my last week's ticket?' and they were told they were the winners," store owner Andrew Spence said. Their air of innocence told Spence that they "had no idea" they'd won.
Next came the shock of a lifetime. To the surprise of the couple, and the relief of the store employees, the ticket was the last known winner of one of ten second-tier prizes worth $5.02 million (US$3.28 million).
"We were on edge each time someone came in and asked us to check their tickets," Spence said. Since the draw the week before, the pharmacy had kept a prize claim form, a bottle of champagne, and a chair on the side waiting for that last lucky winner to come into their store.
"All three were ready just in case the winner was someone who was completely unaware they'd won, and it seems like it was the case, so all three things were put into place right away," the store owner added.
Since then, the store has seen a boost in foot traffic, some looking to shop and others simply paying a visit.
"We've been rather popular, with lots of people not even necessarily coming to buy a ticket, just to look at the store. It's been a bit of a tourist destination," Spence remarked.
A spokeswoman for the Lotto confirmed that the "very surprised but delighted" couple claimed their winnings on Saturday. They're also not the first Napier residents to win big recently. Their win comes two weeks after two other Napier residents found success playing the Lotto, each bringing home a First Division prize worth $142,857 (US$93,265). Last Wednesday, another Napier resident scooped up the $1 million (US$652,852) Lotto Division 1 prize.
Although no one won the $51.6 million jackpot for the August 15 draw, all ten winners of the second-tier $5.02 million prize have now come forward.
"It put a lovely end to what had been an exciting week," Spence declared.
Thanks to dannyct for the tip.