The New Year celebrations continue for a young Taranaki woman after scooping a life-changing $22.3 million Powerball prize in Wednesday night's Lotto draw.
The Inglewood woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, found out she was holding onto a multi-million dollar ticket while at home watching a movie.
"I was tucked up in bed early on Wednesday night watching a movie on my laptop, when all of a sudden a family member rushed into my bedroom," said the woman.
With the news of the local win spreading like wildlife, the family member knew the woman had recently bought a Lotto ticket and urged her to check it.
"I grabbed my ticket off the dresser and handed it to him to check. He pulled up the results on MyLotto then glanced at the screen and said 'you're the winner!'
"I didn't believe him as he's a bit of a practical joker, so I replied 'Am I really?' That's when he said 'Nah - I haven't even checked the ticket yet'. He's always pulling my leg like that!" laughed the woman.
The family member then proceeded to check the ticket - and discovered that the woman was in fact Lotto's latest multi-millionaire.
"When he turned and told me I'd won, I knew he wasn't joking this time. His face had completely changed and he even had tears in his eyes - and he never cries!
"We both stood there completely stunned and then gave each other a big hug - it was such an 'Oh my God, is this really happening to me' moment," said the woman.
Wanting to share the good news, the winner rushed over to another family member's house.
"As soon as I walked in the door, they guessed what had happened straight away. I think they could just tell on my face that I was in a bit of a shock," said the woman.
After celebrating the win with a few drinks with family in the backyard, the winner kept her ticket locked away until visiting Lotto HQ in Auckland today to claim her prize.
"Honestly, it's been a bit of whirlwind - it definitely hasn't sunk in yet," the woman said.
"I'm just going to take my time to let everything settle - I've got my whole life ahead of me and this is a wonderful opportunity.
"The main thing that's been on my mind is who I am going to help with this win, how many lives I can change - especially my family. Everything else has been secondary. I can't wait to share this win around," said the woman.
The winning ticket was sold at Inglewood Bookcentre in Inglewood for the Lotto draw on Wednesday 2 January.