Herald journalists have been spending time with party leaders for election series Leaders Unplugged: eight parties in eight days. Today, United Future leader Peter Dunne takes Nicholas Jones to Archives New Zealand.
Like a beacon in the winter gloom Peter Dunne's hair bobs down Aitken St towards us as we stand outside Archives New Zealand.
"There he is," a staffer says. "The hair's quite helpful."
It wouldn't be a profile on the United Future leader without mention of his hair, so remarkable a drunken Wellington businessman once yanked it to see if it was real.
The hair stayed firmly in-follicle, but the Ohariu MP's other trademark hasn't proven so secure - snatched in a daring heist just weeks from the election.
"Someone's stolen my bow tie!" Dunne tweeted recently, above a picture of his billboard with a necktie-shaped hole. (The billboard's been replaced and so far there's no evidence Wellington police have a serial offender on their hands).
As part of this "leaders unplugged" series each politician was encouraged/arm-twisted to bring along a close friend or relative, to help reveal a bit more about their personality and life outside politics.
Dunne, aka Mr Sensible, nominated a suffrage petition as his plus one.
Or more accurately a reproduction of a section of the petition organised by Kate Sheppard, featuring the signature of Dunne's great grandmother.
It and other documents relating to Dunne have been dug out of the archives and are laid out in the sterile surrounds of the deeds register room. Each metal shelf holds a huge and ancient book, the covers rust-brown and peeling.
Along with the petition excerpt there's the WWI record for Dunne's maternal grandfather, Frank Smyth, including his enlistment form and casualty form, the "intention to marry" record for Dunne's great grandparents.
I've been physically harassed on more than one occasion. I've had my house singled out for protest, shouting at 3 o'clock in the morning through loud hailers.
He runs his finger over the browned paper, reading out the place names that shaped his grandfather's war.
"Because he was alive until I was 18, it is someone I knew very well, and very closely and was very fond of. To see his story on those documents, and realise he was at the Somme, he was at Passchendaele ... that is quite emotional, really ... this is a real person you are talking about."
Dunne is Internal Affairs Minister, but the delve through the records today is clearly giving him much personal satisfaction. He has been compiling his family history after some divine intervention arrived in his letterbox.
About 10 years ago the Mormon Church and others with a keen interest in genealogy became concerned legislation aiming to prevent identity theft would restrict access to public records. Dunne's submission helped protect access for such records.
"I thought no more of it until a few weeks later a beautifully bound and embossed book arrived at my house. The Mormons as a mark of gratitude had prepared my family history, which went back as far as the early 18th century.
"That history was probably about half complete, but that was enough to make me think ... I can now get into it in a big way. And I used all the records available through here and other sources to substantially complete that, it would be 90-odd per cent complete."
Smyth survived the war and was selected straight from club rugby for the inter-island trial game, then became an All Black front-rower and toured Australia in 1922. The family had his jersey but it was eaten by moths, and Dunne's brother lost his test cap at a party.
Also brought out for our visit is the first deed of sale for the land Dunne's current home in Khandallah sits on.
Dunne and his wife have lived there since 1993, raising their two now-adult sons. Some of their experiences there help explain why he keeps his family firmly out of politics (he also has a case that his siblings live in Christchurch and so weren't available today).
In particular, the United Future leader's overview of drug law as Associate Health Minister has put him in the firing line. Dunne has been praised by the Drug Foundation for steering New Zealand's drug regime towards one that treats illegal drug-use primarily as a health issue but he is a hate figure for some who aren't happy with the pace of change.
"I've been physically harassed on more than one occasion. I've had my house singled out for protest, shouting at 3 o'clock in the morning through loud hailers, we've had someone lock our gates at one stage so we couldn't get out. We've had chalk messages on the footpath.
"I accept that goes with the territory, but I don't like the idea that other members of my family are exposed to that. I'm the public figure, not my wife, not my kids, not my siblings."
For the record, Dunne smoked weed on the "odd occasion" as a student (he was president of the Canterbury student union).
"But to be perfectly honest I didn't see what all the fuss was about ... and since it was illegal, I didn't see - given the lack of sensation - it was worth the risk."
Dunne has a liberal voting record as an MP, including support for the decriminalisation of homosexuality and abortion law reform. He was never smacked and nor did he smack his children. Being caned at St Bede's contributed to Dunne's support for the so-called anti-smacking law.
"While I still have contact with some of the priests who were responsible, I've never really forgiven them," he says, becoming more animated as the memories return.
"I felt it was barbaric, a power thing ... there is no justification, they were barbarians. And, I'm sorry, if any are still alive and read this, I still feel that way about you, and I think you owe me an apology."
Dunne was raised Catholic but says he's "not really" religious now, although believes strongly in the principles of social justice and free will.
He was at school with other MPs including Gerry Brownlee, Damien O'Connor and David Carter. What was it about St Bede's that produced so many politicians, judges and business leaders?
"Mafia," volunteers Dunne's press secretary. Dunne puts it down to the strong message relayed by the Marist priests that there should be no boundaries to their ambition. Dunne's emerged early - from the age of 14 he had copies of Hansard posted to him every couple weeks.
"I think I was probably a nerd," he allows.
Still, sometimes politics gets you down. Shortly before our interview Dunne sent out his regular newsletter, "Dunne Speaks", in which over 800-words he lamented the turn of the worm - that which so favoured him in 2002 - towards the "anarchic craziness" and absurdities of New Zealand politics, and the "largely sycophantic media" lapping it all up.
"Common-sense, reason and balance have been abandoned in the reckless pursuit of style over substance, the bold and the dramatic, over the systematic and reliable," Dunne wrote.
A short time after publishing the newsletter the United Future leader tweeted a link to a Herald story and added the hashtag #fakenews. Is it fair to say he is getting grumpier?
"No, I'm not grumpy," he says.
"I have become more outspoken. I think it's a combination of reasons and in part because I have been around a long time ... there's a certain degree of experience that leads you to draw those opinions."
The upcoming election will be Dunne's 12th. At age 63 Dunne has occasionally considered retirement, but says he still enjoys "the buzz of involvement" and in particular the chance to help people.
"I look around and think, 'if I wasn't doing this, what could I do to replace that?' "And I haven't found an answer yet."