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Lotteries staff to meet big winner

Published: 12:08PM Thursday June 25, 2009 Source: NZPA

NZ Lotteries staff are in Masterton for a meeting with the $36 million-plus Big Wednesday winner, but the organisation will not say whether the country's newest millionaire is a local.

NZ Lotteries spokesperson Karen Jones told NZPA she has been in contact with the winner - who first contacted NZ Lotteries on Wednesday night via a special 0800 number set up for the draw.

The winners are very excited but very aware of the public interest in their big win, she says.

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.

The winner is in shock and has a lot of big decisions to make, including who to tell, and how to tell them, she says.

"They're obviously coming to grips with their win."

Two lotteries staff have been sent to Masterton, Jones says.

When asked if that meant the winner was a local, she said the staff will provide support to the store which sold the winning ticket, Kuripuni Take Note Lotto and Post Shop.

But NZ Lotteries will also meet with the winner "at an undisclosed location".

There will be no giant cheque, with the funds set to be deposited straight into the winner's bank account.

They will also receive a copy of This Is Not A Dream, a book created by NZ Lotteries with advice for big winners.

NZ Lotteries says 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.

The biggest previous single Lotto prize was a $19 million Powerball jackpot in April last year.

The MyLotto website, where Lotto, Big Wednesday and Keno tickets can be purchased and checked online, had been taken down for maintenance after being flooded with hundreds of thousand prospective winners.

The website was back up from 11am.