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New Zealand Lotto winner takes home $1 million on ticket stashed in a bag

A lottery winner from New Zealand has won a huge $1 million prize on a lottery ticket that he had stashed in a bag and forgotten all about.

The winner, who is from Invercargill but chose to remain anonymous, kept his ticket in a work bag for two weeks before he checked it, saying that he did so in order to keep the dream of winning alive, in a similar story to that of a couple from Dunedin who kept their New Zealand Lotto ticket in an empty cake tin. “I knew that the longer I walked around with my ticket unchecked, the more likely I could be the winner so I refused to check it. I wanted to keep the dream of winning alive for as long as possible.”

However, the longer the ticket was in his bag, the more the winner began to suspect that he was in fact holding onto a winning ticket. The number combination had been advertised locally so many times that he had memorized them, and suspected that they were the ones on the New Zealand Lotto ticket in his possession.

He first heard about the local win when his workmates were talking about the lottery draw at lunch time, and mentioned that nobody had come forward yet, but decided to wait a few more days to check whether it was him. “My workmates asked me again if I was the lucky winner, but I just said ‘nah it wasn’t me,’ it was pretty hard to keep the smile off my face,” he said. This winner is not the only lottery player to keep his win a secret, as a couple from Florida kept their $528.7 million Powerball win a secret from their children, while a syndicate organizer in the UK kept their Health Lottery win a secret from the rest of the members for weeks.

When he finally did check his New Zealand Lotto ticket, the winner said that the moment he finally brought himself to look at his ticket was unreal, and at least he didn’t keep the secret from his wife as well, like Pablo Chavez did after his lottery win, as the NZ winner greeted his wife with the good news as soon as she returned home later that evening. “As soon as she stepped through the door I shouted “we’re rich” and tossed the ticket in the air,” he told lottery officials. The New Zealand Lotto winner said that his wife looked at him in disbelief, and he suspected that she thought he’d gone mad.

The couple are now going to take a holiday, buy new cars and save for their retirement.

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