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$36m win has Masterton buzzing

Published: 4:40AM Thursday June 25, 2009 Source: NZPA

Masterton will be abuzz over the identity of the winner of $36.8 million in Wednesday night's Big Wednesday draw, says the seller of the winning ticket.

Someone contacted NZ Lotteries on Wednesday night to say they had the winning ticket, but whether that is the case has yet to be verified.

The first division prize was $36.1 million, while the same ticketholder has almost certainly won the second division prize of $696,795, as it was also sold at the same outlet, the Kuripuni Take Note Lotto & Post Shop.

"Being a small town somebody will know who has won, for sure. It will be out within 24 hours who has won," said Maureen Taute, who owns the shop with her husband Allen and their daughters.

About 23,000 people live in and around Masterton, which has had a hot run of lottery luck lately.

A Powerball ticket bought at New World Masterton won $5.5 million just 11 days ago, the same day a ticket bought at Taute's store won $500,000 in Lotto's first division.

The shop reflected the buzz that accompanied the flurry for tickets in the past week as the Big Wednesday prize had to be won after reaching $30m. Massive ticket sales pushed the first division pool to just beyond $36m.

Taute said her shop had sold at least 2000 tickets in the past week.

NZ Lotteries spokeswoman Karen Jones said someone had phoned the hotline late Wednesday night claiming they had the winning ticket but would give few details.

"Obviously it is only phone contact and they still have to go through the official process," she said.

The winner could either present the ticket to a Lotto outlet anywhere in New Zealand or visit the NZ Lotteries office in Wellington to fill out the prize claim forms.

Special precautions would be taken to protect the privacy of the winner, Jones said. That could including meeting them in another town or away from the NZ Lotteries office.

The winning numbers were 19, 9, 11, 39, 24, 28 and the correct coin toss was heads.

Taute admitted to being pleasantly "shattered" by the winning sale, a change in emotions from just two days ago when her shop was robbed.

An undisclosed amount was taken by a man wearing a hoodie and bandanna on Monday.

That was "past history" and police had asked that she not reveal too many details, Taute said.

A man had simply come in and demanded money. The staff member had responded as they were taught and handed over some money, she said.

"It's happened, it's been dealt with and dealt well with by the member of staff."

It was the first time the shop had been robbed, which meant a week of ups and downs, she said.

The Big Wednesday prize includes $34,453,401 cash, an Audi R8, a Porsche Cayenne, $250,000 credit on an American Express Platinum Card, $250,000 cash towards luxury travel, a Four Winns V258 boat, and $750,000 cash towards a bach.

NZ Lotteries said 4.78 million Big Wednesday tickets were sold for Wednesday night's draw, compared to 500,000 in an average week. It generated $28 million in sales.

About 20 cents in every dollar spent on lottery tickets is transferred to the NZ Lottery Grants Board to be distributed to good causes.

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