From the outside Parliament looks like a big old grey box for keeping MPs in, but in fact there are a lot more people under the lid than that.
Other than many hundreds of staff of many kinds, Parliament is a beach which enjoys a regular tide of visitors.
It is on the itinerary of tourists who enjoy guided tours around the buildings. Hundreds of school classes visit to get a taste of (and some practice at) representative democracy. Thousands of submitters come to give evidence to Select Committees face to face.
Conferences and events seem to be on in various spots most days. The new art gallery attracts other folk.
Still more come for lunch at Copperfields, where MPs also grab a bite. And of course a regular troop of experts and officials consult with ministers.
Some visitors turn up surprisingly regularly in the galleries for the entertainment and even elucidation that can come from observing Question Time or a debate.
And besides all of that the 120 MPs regularly bring in guests from their own territory as well, including a surprising number of students who come for the day or even the week for a real look behind the scenes.
On Wednesday for example I met a group of high school students from Taranaki. They had been the finalists for two spots as Youth MPs and were guests of Glen Bennett and Andrew Little at the big House.
That’s not an unusual event. On Thursday the shooting of the Speaker’s Briefing included two students from Maungakiekie electorate who were getting a look behind the scenes of a minister’s office as guests of Priyanca Radhakrishnan.