Go behind-the-scenes with Parliament’s free guided tours
Be guided through the Beehive and Parliament House to understand more about the history and current state of our government
Whether you’re a New Zealand local, ex-pat, or visitor, a guided tour of the New Zealand Parliament has something for everyone. Learn important facts and anecdotes of our government and walk the corridors of power where our laws and policies are debated, discussed, written, and passed.
Every day of the week you can find a number of free guided tours that take you through various Parliament buildings and offer a look into the parliamentary process. The Introducing Parliament Tour offers a great overview and runs daily for a full hour. While the specific areas you’ll visit can vary depending on what is open to the public on the day, you’re sure to receive a thorough view of the buildings and be filled in on interesting stories.
Throughout the course of an hour, you’ll make your way through rooms and areas of the Executive Wing (the Beehive), designed by Sir Basil Spencer and notable for its circular design, and the 100-year-old Parliament House and the Parliamentary Library.
As you move through contemporary to classic architecture, you’ll hear more about the history of the buildings as well as tidbits about the way our government is run. This includes more about the House of Representatives, also known as the Chamber, including where members sit, how bills are debated and passed, and what goes into parliamentary business.
These buildings are filled with stories of the past and present, intricate design details, and a number of historic photos and artworks from New Zealand artists. In the Galleria space, created in the 1990s, you can see the Malcolm Harrison piece called ‘These are matters of pride’, with hanging panels representing the land, sea, and sky. While in the hallway are numerous photos of past Prime Ministers and Speaker of the House Representatives.
We move down corridors, past open office doors where staffers look busy and purposeful, through to the grand parliamentary library where we gaze, mouths agape at the Victorian gothic revival architecture
Stephanie Holmes, NZ Herald
The helpful and friendly guides have a vast amount of knowledge and are able to answer questions beyond the information offered. Whether you’re new to the New Zealand system or studied our democracy in school, you’re sure to leave with new insights into how our government came to be what it is today and what goes on behind the scenes.
Following the tour you can continue your experience with a trip to the onsite restaurant Bellamys by Logan Brown, or, depending on the day, witness a sitting at the Chamber in the public gallery.