Wanaka's $1m winner maintaining low profile

Wanaka New World Lotto staff (from left) Natasha Yeo, Melissa Foss and Shelly Chou wait for Saturday night's Lotto winner to call and claim their $1 million prize. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Wanaka New World Lotto staff (from left) Natasha Yeo, Melissa Foss and Shelly Chou wait for Saturday night's Lotto winner to call and claim their $1 million prize. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The excitement at Wanaka New World's Lotto counter yesterday was palpable as staff checked tickets and fielded a stream of questions from those keen to learn the identity of the town's newest millionaire.

The supermarket sold Saturday night's winning Lotto first division ticket but the $1 million prize remained unclaimed last evening.

Staff member Natasha Yeo said it seemed the whole town had heard the news.

''There's plenty of people asking about it.''

Many were checking their own tickets, but excited staff were yet to scan the winning one.

''And because it's such a tourist town we don't know if it's someone just passing through town or not.''

Wanaka New World had sold winning scratch cards worth tens of thousands of dollars in the past, but Miss Yeo could not recall a Lotto ticket with such a big prize being bought at the supermarket before.

''We hope it's a local and they do something good for Wanaka,'' fellow staff member Shelly Chou said, while surrounded at the Lotto counter by brightly-coloured balloons bearing ''Congratulations'' messages.

''I wish it was me. I'd donate some for animals, donate some for children, but I didn't check my ticket yet.''

Lotto communications manager Amanda Boock confirmed the winner's identity was still a mystery.

''You never know how long it's going to take for them to step forward because they might have weekly shopping habits and do it that way.

''We have had a couple of cases lately where people have forgotten to check their tickets and then checked them a month later ... either way, what a great surprise it will be.''

It was ''fantastic'' the ticket-holder had won the first division prize outright and not had to split it with others, Miss Boock said.

Wanaka's last big Lotto win was last July when a local retired couple won a $200,000 share of the first division prize after buying their ticket at the town's Paper Plus store.

Meanwhile, 84-year-old Ronald from Riverton - identified as Ronald Squires by Riverton SuperValue, where he bought his Lotto ticket - spun and won $200,000 on the Winning Wheel on Saturday night.

Lotto's website reported he was looking forward to supporting his family with his winnings and buying a new car.