Herald journalists show a different side of our politicians in the series Leaders Unplugged. Here, Nicholas Jones takes the family dog for a walk with Greens co-leader Marama Davidson.
Whimpers can be heard through the door to Marama Davidson's lounge.
Nala, the family's rescue dog, has been shut out to calm down before meeting the Sunday-morning visitors.
She was weeks-old when, with another stray, she wandered past Davidson's eldest daughter, Hiria, who was hanging up the washing.
"This puppy had just followed this other dog," the Green Party co-leader recalls. "My daughter went, 'Hello, puppy, how are you?' And the puppy saw her, ran off the street and down the driveway into her arms."
Davidson didn't care for dogs but returned from her first week in Wellington after becoming a Green Party MP in 2015 to find one had joined her family (after notices around the neighbourhood and checks with the council and SPCA).
Nala, whose breed is an indeterminate "South Auckland special", quickly won her over.
"I often say I'm like a reformed racist ... I was really snobby about people who let their dogs inside, and on their couches and on their beds. And she's allowed anywhere - two of the couches in the lounge are completely reserved for her."
Since Nala's arrival, Davidson became her party's co-leader in April 2018, and is now in the midst of another election campaign, running a two-tick campaign for Tāmaki Makaurau.
An even bigger development: Hiria's daughter Raeya recently turned 1.
With Davidson and her husband Paul both working full-time (Paul manages transitional housing for the Salvation Army), Hiria and her partner Rajan live at home, with Hiria the "main mum" to three younger sisters.
That made a household of eight (nine including Nala) over lockdown. With space at a premium, Davidson resorted to erecting a tent in the backyard, where she'd video call into the Epidemic Response Committee, and hold virtual "town hall" meetings.
That worked until the first downpour - hearing rain on canvas being one of life's pleasures, but deafening during a Zoom call. From then onwards she used a makeshift desk in her room, built with barstools and books.
An essential release was a daily walk through the nearby Auckland Botanic Gardens, which border State Highway 1 in Manurewa. The family half-joked about printing T-shirts to make clear they were one bubble, after getting a few sideways looks.
We're doing the same walk today, albeit with a smaller team: Paul, Raeya, Davidson and her sister Irihapeti and niece Miliana, 9.
It's the morning after the Blues defeated the Chiefs, and Irihapeti has turned up wearing a blue-and-white-striped Auckland rugby onesie. Paul, a true fan, has stuck with a Chiefs cap and jersey underneath his windbreaker.
"I haven't seen her in ages, all of a sudden she's coming over," he says of his sister-in-law's timing. "I'd do the same."
The gym where Paul trained for and taught kickboxing was shared by Counties Manukau teams, including great players like Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vindiri. He's already bought a tiny Chiefs jumper for Raeya.
"It's called indoctrination," Irihapeti counters.
The rugby chat continues as we wind down the hill to the dog-park. Davidson, 46 and who worked at the Human Rights Commission before entering politics, is happily out front and out of earshot. Does she share the family passion?
"Oh my god, I'm the sports spokesperson for the Greens," she says, as her sister laughs. "I sort of have to ... I tell you what I care about - grassroots and community sports, and that's what my kids play. And women's equality in sports.
"Yeah, we educate Mar when we can about what actually happened in the big game," Paul adds. "But I tell you what, you won't hear a louder person supporting her whānau and kids at the game."
Nonetheless, the wider clan was "hilariously perplexed" when Davidson was made sports spokesperson, her sister says. By way of explanation she shares a family story about when they were kids at Opononi Area School, in Omapere on the south shore of Northland's Hokianga harbour.
Davidson's grandparents were part of the exodus of Māori from rural areas in the 1950s, moving to Ōtara. Her parents moved back north when she was 9.
"All our cousins went to the same school, and every single Broughton - our family name - won the different age group sprints at athletics day," recalls Irihapeti. "Except for her race, she came second. She's never lived it down."
"That's supposed to be the family shame?" Davidson asks.
There was sport, but also theatre, books and creativity - Davidson's father is the acclaimed actor Rawiri Paratene, and with her mother, Hanakawhi Nepe-Fox, was involved in movements including language revitalisation and tino rangatiratanga.
One of the silver linings of Covid was, for the first time in years, finding time to read more widely than Parliamentary reports and briefings; a new manuscript by Mike Riddell, author of The Insatiable Moon which was turned into the movie her father starred in, and Becky Manawatu's Auē.
"I missed beautiful writing about life - it pulls you out of a very clerical, sterile, political report space."
That repressed creativity found another outlet in arranging teddy bears' picnic displays on their front lawn during lockdown - hanging out laundry on clothes horses, playing chess and Connect 4, gardening and a musical performance. The Greens co-leader applied a train modeller's eye for detail.
"I was hiding behind my garage waiting for people to notice. I was a total loser. It got to the point where my family was watching me watching people's reactions."
My family mocked me hard for setting this up this morning. Well a mum and her wee child just smiled and laughed in glee when they saw it just now and my whānau can get in the sea. pic.twitter.com/odNSdu4miG— Marama Davidson MP (@MaramaDavidson) April 4, 2020
We're at the off-leash area now but Nala has to wait a minute - a cartoonishly chunky and happy looking rottweiler is approaching.
"Sometimes her and roddies don't get on," Davidson explains. "So I might leave her on the leash for a bit. It's never the other dog's fault."
Nala's soon free, tearing about in ecstatic circles and looping back to check on us every so often. Raeya is relishing the day too - powering through the grass and into nana's arms.