No joke: Man ‘blown away’ by Lotto win

A Central Otago man in his 20s says he is "blown away" by his $22.3 million Lotto win and is "taking a bit of time to get my head around things at the moment".

The man, who won the South Island’s biggest Powerball prize in Wednesday’s draw and bought his ticket online, said he still could not believe the news and kept "asking my mate to pinch me".

But it took a day or so for him to realise he had won - even after checking his ticket online with his friend on Thursday and seeing "all six numbers circled and lined up in a row".

"I said, ‘mate - I think I’ve won Powerball - is this real?’ " but his friend "had a quick glance and told him there was no way; it’ll be $60 or something".

The man then gave his parents a call, but "Mum and Dad didn’t believe me. It’s the kind of thing I’d pull, so they chalked it up to a joke. The whole thing felt a little too good to be true, so I just put my phone down and went to bed."

But when he woke up yesterday morning there was a message from his father with a link to an article saying a $22.3 million Powerball prize had been won in Central Otago with a MyLotto ticket.

"I logged into MyLotto and claimed the prize, then decided to give Lotto NZ a call and get to the bottom of things. When they confirmed that I was the big winner I was in absolute shock."

The man said he was taking some time off work "and taking stock of what I want to do next" and looking forward to planning his future.

"I want to buy a house with some land ... maybe a boat. The big thing for me is making sure I really set myself up for the future - this prize is an unbelievable opportunity and I am going to make the most it."

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan said on behalf of the Central Otago district he was "thrilled" for the lucky winner and wished him well.

"It’s such a major opportunity for a young person and a life-changing thing."

pam.jones@odt.co.nz

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