People might not always connect Internal Affairs anti-fraud specialists with a sense of humour.
At one of the Department's offices for a rare look at the making of New Zealand's passports, those responsible for some of the final of the 100-plus passport application security checks do not immediately exude mirth.
They are of the right age, disposition, and suit style to be former detectives, the sort of people only criminals and cop-show researchers have any business talking to.
But they have a name for a tool that works to separate the fraudsters and scumbags from the decent folk who fork out money for a coveted New Zealand Passport.
They reveal, to a sudden burst of laughter, that they call it The Probe.
It's just one of multiple checks carried out to ensure New Zealand's passports keep their world-class reputation for integrity.
Passport security has been in the spotlight since the Phillip John Smith fiasco, where he absconded to Brazil, and the Government's decision this year to reintroduce passports valid for a decade rather than five years.
But in the long run, sophisticated organised criminals are expected to be the DIA's main nemesis, with counterfeiters forever racing to keep up with the latest technology.
It is a paradox, DIA bosses acknowledge: The better your passport security, the more desirable those documents become to crooks, with Kiwi passports fetching some $50,000 on the black market - a grand for every page on the regular passport.
A false passport by itself is a waste of time, and only useful to enable other crime, or to flee from the law.
DIA staff use risk profiles embedded in the Department's IT system to sift through applications, checking against every conceivable con.
The Probe compares the faces of suspected evil-doers against a vast database to catch any suspect applications. The Probe transcends space and time -- the DIA had a case where a man arrested in New York in 1996 had his 18 year-old photo matched to one submitted last year.
David Philp, GM of identity and passport services, says the software isn't perfect, but when coupled with old-fashioned detective work, is a strong deterrent to would-be fraudsters.
Maria Robertson, deputy chief executive for service delivery and operations, points out that the DIA is unique in having a lifelong relationship with all New Zealanders.
When you're born, married, and dead, the DIA is there. She wants the Department to be world-class and serve Kiwis as well as it possibly can.
Pivotal to being Number 1 is a commitment to anti-corruption measures.
Passport applications are subject to many checks from multiple DIA divisions to prevent any chance or allegation of bribery or conflicts of interest clouding civil servants' judgement.
For example, Robertson and Philp said even they don't have access to the room containing the Identifier 5000 passport personalisation system, the main machine that turns a blank booklet into finished passports.
When the enormous, shiny machine arrived on site, windows at the DIA building were removed and the Identifier hoisted by crane onto the floor it dominates.
The behemoth is one of three in New Zealand. Miniature versions of the device are stationed in London and Sydney, expat hubs where the DIA processes high numbers of travel documents.
Smaller versions locally also process small batches, such as emergency travel documents, where large production runs are unnecessary.
A Canadian firm provides the actual paper, and New Zealand's relatively low number of passports - the lack of an economy of scale - is one reason passports here will never be cheap.
The DIA says the machines are well ahead of technology used in the United States and Australia.
Away from The Probe and the Identifier 5000, another business unit uses three different programmes to check and re-check application details.
The system helps remove reliance on a menagerie of diverse documents. By contrast, some 9000 documents are accepted when applying for United States passports.
At another office, DIA staff point out some quirky pitfalls in processing passport photos.
Staff scan images, then software finds the applicant's eyes and checks the photo for flaws.
One can imagine some photos must cause a few chuckles.
Today, we see one woman unwilling to fork out $20 at the Post Shop has taken an obvious selfie and her face is out of whack with passport requirements. One male applicant has apparently taken a selfie too, almost resembling a "derp" face as he looks down through almost-closed eyes past a concertina-chin to the camera.
Some amateur photo editors squish or squash their faces by adjusting aspect ratios on their computers before sending in pictures.
Ineptitude rather than malice is clearly responsible for most delays DIA staff face in processing passport applications.
The making of passports:
• Internal Affairs receives on average 2500 applications per day, and up to 3,300 in peak periods.
• Internal Affairs said the busiest time was around March, as people prepared to escape local winters for holidays in the Northern Hemisphere.
• 638,990 passports were issued in the 2013/14 financial year. 108,668 of these were issued from overseas offices.
• 45 per cent of adult renewals are done online.
• Staff in the Image Capture division process between 200-250 photos per day.
• Of all applications, 7.5 per cent were requested urgently and issued within three working days.
Source: Internal Affairs/Te Tari Taiwhenua