Thirty years of scratching

Caversham Foodmarket and Lotto store owner Sandra Shum is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Instant Kiwi after selling thousands of the scratchie tickets over the past three decades. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Caversham Foodmarket and Lotto store owner Sandra Shum is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Instant Kiwi after selling thousands of the scratchie tickets over the past three decades. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Sandra Shum still recalls the day a customer came in with an Instant Kiwi ticket, bursting with excitement because he thought he had just won $6.

Once the ticket had been verified, it turned out he had won $60,000.

''He got such a big fright when all the numbers - all the zeros - came up on the screen.

''He was just dumbfounded. Speechless. I tried to calm him down because all the other customers were looking at him.

''He just couldn't believe his luck.''

It is one of countless memories the Caversham Foodmarket and Lotto store owner has of selling Instant Kiwi tickets over the past 30 years.

Instant Kiwi celebrated its 30th anniversary yesterday and named the Dunedin store and Paper Plus Cromwell among only 10 stores in the country to have sold the tickets since they were first launched in 1989.

Mrs Shum (in her 70s) has been at the family-owned store for more than 50 years and said it was chaotic in the early days after the introduction of the tickets.

''Everyone wanted to scratch to win. We had long queues outside our store.

''In those days, we had no modern technology like scanners, self ticket checkers or apps on our phones or eftpos.

''To redeem a prize, we had to manually key in a 14-digit number from the ticket and the customer - for gaming regulations - had to spell the word 'kiwi' backwards before we could pay out.''

She said the biggest prize won by a customer was $250,000 and there had been many vehicles and holidays won over the years by people buying the tickets at her store.

While she never tired of the excitement of possibly selling a winning ticket, she said customers coming up to the counter and saying, ''I want the winning ticket please'' had become wearisome.

Since 1989, more than $1.3 billion in prizes has been won by Instant Kiwi players.

Profits from Instant Kiwi support good causes in communities around the country.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

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