Twizel is a mere 1.5 hour drive from Wānaka so it is in the realm of possibility that someone from Wānaka, or someone travelling through the district, won the $17.1million that is yet unclaimed from the December 28 draw.
“A lot of Kiwis have returned to work from [Monday] and are back to their normal routines, so we are really hoping our missing millionaire realises they have won big and claims their prize,” said Marie Winfield, Lotto NZ head of communications and corporate social responsibility.
“We encourage anyone who bought a ticket from the Market Store in Twizel for the draw on December 28 to check their tickets. This is a life-changing amount of money, and we have the champagne on ice ready to celebrate with our newest Powerball winner.”
Ms Winfield said Lotto NZ had already been contacted by two players today who each won $1 million with Lotto First Division. One of the tickets was sold at Alexandra New World in Alexandra for the draw on January 4, and the other was sold at Onehunga Mall Superette in Auckland for the draw on December 18.
“We’re on a roll today as we’ve already had two people claim $1 million each this morning – so we’d love to hear from our lucky $17.1 million winner.
“If we don’t hear from them in the next week we will make every effort to find the winner.”
“Most Powerball winners claim their prize within a few days of winning – but occasionally we have these big wins go unclaimed for a while,” Ms Winfield said.
In August 2019 a $12.2 million Powerball prize went unclaimed for over two weeks. The ticket was purchased on MyLotto and Lotto NZ was able to contact the winner who was completely unaware they had won and was surprised by the news.
In 2017, a Gisborne couple took two weeks to claim a $6.5 million Powerball prize. They knew straight away that they'd won but wanted to take their time before claiming to think about how to manage their windfall.
In 2014, a Hamilton couple sat on their winning $16.2 million ticket for ten days before checking and finding out they were the missing millionaires.
In 2013, Lotto NZ tracked down a Christchurch player who was unaware they had won $22 million. The man thought the prize had already been claimed so was taken by surprise when Lotto NZ knocked on his door.
Anyone who purchased their ticket from The Market Store in Twizel is encouraged to write their name on the back of the ticket and check it immediately at any Lotto outlet, online at MyLotto.co.nz or through the Lotto NZ App.