Meet our Hunt for the Hundy winner!

$100,000 prize gives family respite from anxious budget-watching

20 December 2023

“Bull****. You’ve got to be kidding me,” was Anna’s first response when she got the big news last week. “This is going to be lifesaving for me and my family,” she said. “It couldn’t come at a better time.” And then she started shaking with shock and joy.

You have to be in to win, they say, and Anna, a Waikato mother of three young children, faithfully played Trade Me Property’s Hunt for the Hundy every day for 31 days, and has come out the winner of the $100,000 cash prize.

The Hunt for the Hundy competition started on 8 November, and, everyday for the next 31 days, we shared a clue to help players find a different iconic Aotearoa landmark listing hidden on Trade Me Property. Cracking the clue on the day and finding and Watchlisting the landmark put you into the draw to win $100,000. You maximised your chances by playing every day (giving you 31 chances to win the prize) and that’s exactly what Anna did. She stumbled across the first location by chance, which just so happened to be day one of the challenge – and that got her off to a great start.

“Every time I came across the daily landmark listing I would cross my fingers, and say: ‘This would change everything’,’” she remembers.

Anna is no slouch when it comes to solving riddles. She does New York Times puzzles and sudoku to unwind at night, and found the daily challenge of Hunt for the Hundy enjoyable. “It wasn’t simple, but it was fun and it got my attention,” she says.

As the news sank in last week, Anna was still going through all the implications for her family of what this $100,000 cash prize means for them.

“We’ve always had discussions of what we would do if we won Lotto. Although I’ve recently returned to part-time work this year, we’ve been living on one wage for the past few years. So we always knew we’d definitely clear any current debt first in order to have more financial freedom so we weren’t living week to week,” she says.

And when the Waikato home owner said the timing of the prize was fantastic, she meant it. Like many Kiwi, this upcoming three weeks over Christmas is unpaid holiday for her and her builder husband. During her lunch breaks at work, Anna had been going over and over their household budget to figure out how they were going to get through this period of no income.

The family were planning to go camping in the Coromandel over Christmas with friends but Anna was worried about how they were going to afford this. “I was getting very stressed. The day Trade Me Property rang me, I was wondering how we were going to afford to go away, let alone make it through those three weeks. I was really panicking,” she says.

It’s amazing what financial stress does to your wellbeing and how you approach daily life. Anna describes how the $100,000 prize is changing her life already.

“I feel like I’ve slowed down, like my mind has slowed down. Today I’m not rushing and I can breathe easier. Every week I would jot everything down and triple check the bills and ask, ‘what can I shuffle around, what bills am I expecting to come in?’”.

“It gives us a chance to slow down and enjoy doing more with the kids. We could go ten pin bowling or shout the kids out to lunch for a change now,” says Anna.

As for many Kiwi, it’s been a hell of a couple of years, financially and personally, and Anna and her family are no different. With interest rates rising and local rates going up, you feel like you’re being dragged back every time you think you’re making some progress, she says.

Anna has also lost a number of close family members over this time, including her beloved grandfather, “Poppa”, who passed away during one of Auckland’s first Covid lockdowns. It was from him that Anna got her love of puzzles – he was a crossword nut. It breaks her heart she never got to say goodbye to him due to Covid restrictions. “He was my world,” she says.

Anna works part time as an administrator, which fits well around school hours but she has ambitions for tertiary study alongside this. The 35 year old loves designing and is good at tech too. She had her children quite young, so tertiary study has been put off, but the plan is to go to university or a polytech to become a draughtsperson so she can help design houses alongside her builder husband. After her youngest starts school next year, she plans to both work and study part-time, and this cash input will definitely help with her plan to train as a draughtsperson, says Anna.

“Now there are no more obstacles,” says the mother of three.

The couple feel lucky to have bought their Waikato house when they did (12 years ago) but like most, still have a mortgage. They would like to build their own home one day, or to completely renovate an older home with some land.

“It’s never been the right time but I’m always looking “just in case”. I never have any fewer than 30 properties on my Watchlist. Now I can look with a bit more intent,” says Anna.

While a million ideas swirl around on how to spend the prize, the couple have sensibly already locked the bulk of this windfall away after paying off current debt. And they’ll let the ideas percolate. Unusually, there’s no rush.


Gill South
Gill South