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How 2019 Powerball winners are celebrating Christmas

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Fifteen Kiwis who were lucky enough to have their dreams come true by becoming multi-millionaires with Powerball this year will be celebrating the festive season by gifting to family, friends and charity.

"This is a year of giving for our Powerball winners!" says Marie Winfield, Head of Communications at Lotto NZ. "More than ever our winners are focused on helping those nearest and dearest to them by shouting holidays, paying off mortgages and funding education. Donating to charities close to their hearts is also a highlight for our winners - it gives them a big thrill to be able to help those who need it most."

2019 is the second biggest year of winning in Lotto NZ’s history - and with three draws remaining, the year is not over yet. So far just over $538 million has been won with Lotto, Powerball and Strike. This is not far behind 2017 when Kiwis won a massive $542.8 million.

So far this year 39 Kiwis became overnight millionaires, with 15 of those winning big with Powerball.

The first draw of 2019 was certainly one to remember, $22.3 million was won by a young woman from Inglewood, the largest individual prize of the year.

This year also saw the second-equal largest jackpot in history. The $38 million jackpot was split by two Auckland MyLotto players who took home a massive $19.1 million each.

An Auckland couple, who won $9.2m in May, said the best thing about winning Powerball is being able to giving to those in need.

The couple feel fortunate to have been able to help a number of charities since their win - like Auckland City Mission and KidsCan. The couple will be giving out food hampers and presents on Christmas Day.

"We believe after we have been so fortunate we should support others," said the man. "People who are homeless or have nothing to eat or no clean clothes. We want to help them."

A woman from Auckland, who won $16.2m with Powerball in April, has donated to a number of charities including UNICEF, plans to give more this Christmas.

"The money is there to make a difference," said the woman. "The best part of winning for us was to be able give it away and truly change people’s lives.

"For us, the holidays have been amazing. To have the freedom to not have to worry about annual leave and just be able to pack a bag and go anywhere in the world that you want to, we love that feeling."

Another Powerball winner from Christchurch, who claimed $5.5m in February, loves planning overseas holidays. He attended the Rugby World Cup Final in Japan this year, and is now shouting his family an unforgettable winter wonderland experience.

He is taking his family to Europe for the first time, and they will spend Christmas Day in London.

"I can’t wait to see the joy on my family’s faces when they see London for the first time," said the man. "The lights and the feeling of being there at Christmas. It is going to blow their minds."

All of the Powerball winners said the Christmas period was a chance to reflect on a life-changing year. The common highlight was gifting to friends and family.

An Auckland winner, who claimed $5.3m in May, gave all of the members of their families $100k each following their win.

"To be able to help family in that way was the best feeling in the world," said the man. "They have helped us our whole lives and to be able to pay that back, and share in our win was really special."

Their win enabled them to buy their first home and their extended family are coming over to celebrate on Christmas Day.

"There will be a few more presents under the Christmas tree this year and the fridge will be full of beer and food. It is going to be nice to reflect and toast a big year."

The winners remember the moment when they knew life was never going to be the same again.

The $5.5m winner from Christchurch had his ‘moment’ when he attended an Air Show in Melbourne that was on his bucket list.

"I was on the bus on the way to the airport when it hit me. I was quite emotional thinking about it. I realised I can now do some amazing things I had always dreamed of doing."

The $5.3m winner from Auckland said the moment for him was when he held the keys to his first home.

"We have been saving for a home for a long time - it is not easy to buy a house in Auckland - so that was our moment, we were full of relief and excitement."

One of the largest winners of the year was an Auckland woman who claimed $16.2m. She says the life-changing feeling was immediate. The woman heard on the radio the store she had bought her ticket from had sold the winning Powerball ticket.

"I checked our ticket and knew we had won. When my husband came home we were jumping around the house and there were tears running down my face. It was an incredible moment and one I will never forget."

There have been so many incredible moments for Lotto NZ players throughout 2019 and they are showing it is better to give than it is to receive this Christmas.

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