Trevor Cooper, the Countdown worker from Te Kauwhata who
scored a colossal Lotto win in April last year, has not spoken
to his closest family members for some months.
Cooper has put his $2.2 million Karaka mansion on the market
and has already moved away from his parents to Waihi with his
new wife, Sharie Marshall.
The 35-year-old bought the sprawling mansion a month after
his win, as well as a million-dollar property just around the
corner for his parents, Kevin and Shirley Cooper.
In the most telling evidence of the family split, public
records show properties bought just after the win - which
were in the names of Trevor, his father Kevin and sister
Sharon - have since been transferred into the names of just
Trevor and wife Sharie.
Trevor Cooper appeared on national television shortly after
his win with his parents and said his windfall would be used
to benefit the whole family.
"My family has always been there for me," Trevor said in an
"My mum, my dad, my sister, my brother-in-law, my niece, my
nephew. Now it's time to repay them for the times they have
been there for me."
But within a year the close relationships seem to have broken
down, though both the parents and his sister continue to live
in the properties.
Estranged family members refused to comment and Trevor
himself could not be contacted. But a source close to the
Lotto winner said the family were distraught about the way
things had turned out.
It is understood other friendships have also suffered.
Posts made on the Facebook page of the Te Kauwhata flatmate
Trevor was living with when he won Powerball, Lisa Sampey,
suggest she too is bitter.
A photo of Trevor and wife Sharie on their wedding day
features, along with some vitriolic comments. In another
section of her page, she writes about her experiences post
the Lotto win: "It's nice to be s*** on by a so-called
At the time of the win, Trevor said although he wasn't in a
relationship with his flatmate, he thought of her daughter as
Since his win, Trevor has indulged his love of motorsport
with a series of purchases, including American streetcars,
sprint cars, offroad cars, a speedboat and numerous trips to
the United States to race in prestigious events.
He has also bought at least five properties, including houses
in Beachhaven, Pukekohe, the Karaka mansions and a 113ha
dairy farm in Sharie's hometown of Waihi. It has been a
multi-million dollar spending spree.
Sharie, who was engaged to Waihi local Michael Capper in July
last year, married Trevor at the Karaka property in February,
just two months after they announced their December
engagement. His links with his family were strained then, and
some members did not attend.
The four-bedroom and four-bathroom Karaka house went on the
market on Friday and is listed with Harcourts.
Trevor spared no expense turning the purpose-built equestrian
property into a motorsport lover's dream.
The real estate advert states the owners have "Gone South".
"Originally purpose-built for equine, this property has also
housed a large array of motorsport vehicles in recent times,
giving a new meaning to horse power," the blurb says.
Tenders close on the property, with a council valuation of
$2,050,000, on September 12.
Recent extensions to the property include an upper level
master suite, integrated security system, a solar-heated
in-ground swimming pool with retractable cover, summer house
It is understood Trevor spent more than $800,000 upgrading
the property, which also has six-car internal access
garaging, and two barns.
Late last year Trevor and Sharie bought the dairy farm in
Waihi. The secluded farm, set in native bush, included a
three-bedroom house, stream, swimming hole and milking sheds
Despite their wealth, the couple took out a loan this year
through their company TR & SA Cooper to buy livestock
from NZ Farmers Livestock.
Father Kevin is still listed as a director in that company in
spite of the family issues.
The Herald on Sunday wanted to discuss the family troubles
with Cooper, but earlier this year was asked by his legal
firm, Rennie Cox, to make no contact with their client.
Partner Graeme Cox was emailed on Friday that the paper was
working on a significant story, and told it would only be
fair to Cooper to be able to put questions to him.
Cox did not respond to the request by late last night.
Winners advised to seek help from professionals
Winning a large amount of money is life-changing and comes
with stress and expectation, says registered psychologist
And it often changes family dynamics, she says.
"There can be certain expectations family members may have of
the member who has come into the money," Chatwin says.
"Nothing stays the same."
She stresses she knows nothing of Trevor Cooper's situation,
but says she has counselled people who have become
overwhelmed after winning big.
She advises them to stick to a routine and avoid making too
many life changes at once.
"Get in touch with professionals who can give good advice and
don't fall into the habit of playing games with people."
Who to tell - and when - should also be carefully considered
and expert advice sought.
"When people go public, anyone who receives a large amount of
money has to be sure it is the right decision because they
will come under scrutiny, there is social judgment and some
people who want to get to know them have a motive," Chatwin
NZ Lotteries provides all big winners with the book This is
not a Dream which offers emotional and financial advice.