Heading into work this week just got a little easier for eight work colleagues from Te Kuiti after winning $1 million with Lotto First Division in last Wednesday's Lotto draw.
The Lotto syndicate have been playing together for almost a year, buying a Triple Dip ticket for each draw.
“At work you always have those conversations – ‘what would you do if you won?' So we thought we would try our luck and give it a go as a group,” says syndicate leader Melanie.
And as it turns out, their luck came sooner than expected.
“I was at the local squash club on Wednesday night when someone mentioned the New World Te Kuiti had sold a big prize.
“I said ‘oh, I got my ticket there this afternoon, I'll have to check it when I get home'. But my friend was pretty insistent we should check it there and then on her phone app.”
So with the syndicate's tickets in one hand and her friend's phone in the other hand, Melanie checked the tickets one by one.
“We won $15 and a Bonus ticket on our regular ticket, which wasn't bad. Then I scanned a Bonus ticket that we'd won in the previous draw.
“The words ‘major prize winner' popped up on the screen and my heart started racing!”
Not wanting to get too excited, Melanie and her friend went online to MyLotto to check the winning numbers.
“By this time we'd gathered a bit of a crowd at the squash club and everyone was just as nervous as I was.
“We read each number out loud one by one, and when the last number was read out and they all matched – the whole club erupted in cheers! I fell to the ground — I was in so much shock.”
After a few celebratory drinks at the squash club, Melanie started thinking about how she was going to tell the rest of the syndicate.
“I called Sandra, a member of the syndicate, to tell her the good news and make a plan to tell everyone else. We decided to gather everyone in the office on Thursday morning.”
With the syndicate all gathered in the office on Thursday morning, none of them suspected their good fortune and even thought that Melanie might have some serious news to share with them.
“I had all these witty lines prepared to surprise the group, but when it came down to it I was a blubbering mess, all I could manage to say was “We've won Lotto!” laughs Melanie.
While Melanie's delivery was not what she'd planned, the response was exactly what she expected.
“Everyone was jumping around and screaming. There were a lot of tears and a lot of hugs.
“The news spread pretty quickly through the office and everyone came up and congratulated us. To be honest, the day was a bit of a blur — I'm not sure anyone got much work done.”
The team now have answers to the question ‘what would you do if you won?' and are each making plans, including home renovations, going on holiday, and helping out friends and family.
However there is one sentiment that they are unanimous in.
“The best part about this win is knowing that it will help out seven other wonderful families," says Melanie.
And will they continue the syndicate?
“Hell yeah! You've got to be in it to win it!”
Each member of the syndicate will receive $125,000 each.