NZ couple had given up on buying home, win $44m

THE winners of the $44 million Powerball draw had just about given up on being able to buy their first home when one of them discovered they'd won during a break at work.

The young couple from Auckland's Hibiscus Coast claimed their winnings on Thursday.

"I was at work this morning on smoko break and decided to check our ticket," said one of the winners.

"I saw that I had three numbers in a row, so I quickly checked that I had the Powerball number and then went back and checked the rest of the numbers," he said.

"As soon as I saw I had all the numbers on one line I just yelled 'holy ****!' - my boss thought I'd chopped my arm off with a saw."

He quickly jumped in his car and headed to a nearby Lotto store to officially check his ticket, busily trying to phone his wife the whole way there.

"As I was driving to the store, they were talking about the big win on the radio and I started screaming out 'that's me!'"

When he finally got through to his wife at work she had trouble believing that it was real.

"I saw a couple of missed calls from him and I thought something was up.

I picked up the phone and said 'babe, are you ok?'" the winner's wife said.

"He said 'we won'. At first I thought he was joking, but he managed to convince me. My head started spinning, my heart was racing and I got the shakes."

The couple visited Lotto NZ's head office on Thursday afternoon to claim their prize in person.

"As we sat in the winner's room, he kept turning to me and saying 'Am I in a dream?' and I kept turning to him and saying 'is this real?'" she said.

"I just wish I could have seen his face when he found out we'd won."

The couple are regular Lotto players who sometimes play their own numbers and sometimes play with a Dip ticket, and the win couldn't have come at a better time for the couple, who have a young family.

"We've been busting our guts trying to buy our first home," the husband said.

"We just went to the mortgage broker earlier this week to see what they could do to help. But they just couldn't make anything work for us.

"We were absolutely gutted and I just said 'maybe that ship has sailed'.

"But my wife tried to stay positive and said 'don't worry, something good will happen for us'.

"I don't think either of us thought that the something good would be $44 million."

The couple are still trying to process the win, which just feels "unbelievable" and is going to change their lives "epically".

"We're definitely going to have a couple drinks tonight to celebrate," he said.

With $44 million arriving in their bank account overnight, the couple have a lot of decisions to make about how to spend their money.

"We want to be really smart about how we manage this money, so we're going to take our time. We just can't believe how lucky we are," the wife said.

"All we know at the moment is that we're going to give the kids a really great Christmas this year."

The couple will continue working and want to remain anonymous.

- NZ Herald

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