There's no shortage of advice available for those wanting to know how to entertain guests. But what about advice on how to be entertained and make yourself the sort of guest who gets asked back?
We spoke to a selection of incorrigible and accomplished hosts who make a practice of "having people for the weekend".
We asked them to describe the qualities they look for in a guest - and to tell us what behaviour will result in the withdrawal of your visiting rights.
It turns out that, although our social rituals appear more relaxed than those of other countries, we still have plenty of do's and don'ts.
Heading to television cook, and Canvas food columnist Annabel Langbein's Wanaka estate for the weekend?
You should be mindful that communication is key. It means, for instance, that you should tell her if there are things you don't eat.
"We had a couple who were staying a couple of days but ended up only staying one day," says Langbein. "I was putting the dinner down and put the plate in front of her and she said, 'I don't eat meat,' and passed the plate back. I had to run back into the kitchen and make her her own meal. I think it's an obligation for guests to say if they're coeliac or allergic to seafood. And then they went to bed really early and had outrageously noisy sex with the door open. She was his new girlfriend and I'd never met her before."
Many hosts are territorial about their kitchens and you should regard them as a no-go zone, but Langbein is an exception.
"I really like it when people cook and make things and it comes together in a shared meal. I haven't had anyone who's a horrible cook make something terrible."
She also has a strategy for dealing with the awkward question of how much time hosts and guests have to spend in each other's company.
"Before guests turn up, send an email saying 'It would be fun to do some walks and go on expeditions. If we're not going on expeditions we'll be in the garden.' " A good guest knows how to take a hint.
As a host I'll jump through hoops and bend over backwards to make your stay relaxing and enjoyable, so I expect guests to make an effort and grumpy ones won't be invited back.
And yes, she says, of course "it is nice if people offer to clean up and strip the beds" and help with their dishes.
PR queen Deborah Pead regularly has people for the weekend at the Paparoa farm where husband Carl Eb runs Angus beef cattle.
"To me, guests bring the whole place to life," says Pead, which makes it sound quite a responsibility for the invitees, but "we have lots of places and spaces. There's no need to feel on top of each other."
She invites selectively: "The best guests are the ones who pick up on the rhythm of the occasion. They will fit in with the rest of the guests and also contribute. They tell us fabulous stories. As a host I'll jump through hoops and bend over backwards to make your stay relaxing and enjoyable, so I expect guests to make an effort and grumpy ones won't be invited back."
Be advised that treats are always acceptable.
"I love cheese, anything homemade - jams or biscuits or cakes. Things that make the table much more sumptuous go a long way. A wheel of cheese made my table look good for days after. And, of course, libations. All my friends are very good on that score. If they drink something special I like it if they bring that."
As for the don'ts - please stay out of the kitchen.
"I don't like them to fiddle with the cooking because I've normally got that planned. I like guests to offer to help with things and without being asked - simple things like setting the table and stacking the outside fireplace. Even just playing with the dogs while I'm in the kitchen helps take the heat off me."
And please note that your invitation has an expiry date. "We went back on a visit to South Africa and had a long lunch at a restaurant with an old friend. It was one of those 'come back to ours' lunches. He came back after the lunch and got too tipsy to drive so stayed over and stayed and stayed. We had to fake we were moving on after the third night."
But any guests can do themselves a favour by practising the art of the thank you note. "A text or email is fine but I have one friend whose handwritten notes are so special. It's something I really treasure."
It would be nice if everyone respected the host's music. There's one who insists on playing country music loud and late after he's had a few.
For Anne Thorp, food writer and TV cooking show host, it's all about manaakitanga - the philosophy of hospitality - whose reward is the enjoyment others get. At her Pakiri property, Thorp has developed a core cast of "repeated guests. They all understand how things go. They arrive with their offerings, car boots full of exciting produce and gourmet treats, luscious wine and plenty of it."
Fortunately for her, most of her regulars are also in the hospitality industry so know the kitchen drill, but it's still her domain.
"It is a rare thing for me to give up my post," says Thorp. "I cook as we sit either side of my kitchen window. I am one side, they are the other. But they know that for me not to falter in my tasks, I need a constant clear and clean bench to work at so there is a swat team from the other side that miraculously takes care of business."
She doesn't do bad guests, but once found herself hosting a wedding she'd rather forget for a couple she didn't know: "I only found out part way through the wedding [that] the groom was gay and the bride was lesbian, so it felt like we were working a hoax wedding. To top it off, they were not a nice 'couple' and very demanding." She never found out exactly why they were getting married.
For her too, clear communication is crucial. Guests need to be able to read and follow simple instructions: "With houseguests who get to stay and are not the inner buddies, I have set down rules, house policies with tasteful little placards that can be pulled out in the rooms, spelling out what is expected so there is no recourse and doubt as to what should be done. Basically it's as mentioned, strip the beds, leave everything exactly as you find things. Simple."
I have set down rules, house policies with tasteful little placards that can be pulled out in the rooms, spelling out what is expected so there is no recourse and doubt as to what should be done.
Hosting at a different level altogether is curmudgeonly cameraman Peter Janes, whose credits include Jackson's Wharf, The Topp Twins and numerous Flying Nun music videos. Until recently he regularly hosted a "select group of older men friends" at his rambling Waipukurau estate.
He likes guests who know what they want. "Organising is fraught with tension and difficulty.
'I can't come that weekend', 'I'm too busy' or 'too important' or 'I'm coming but I'm leaving early'."
The regular group has seven members and his accommodation is not infinite. "It's nice if people accept the room they're offered graciously and don't complain. There was an occasion when we did have one in a horse float. He had been the last to arrive and complained loudly - but no one paid any attention."
The gentlemen "usually bring artisan foods and nice cheeses and Grey Lynn wine, but I do want to single out the one who drinks all the good piss but brings the $8 Chilean. Also it would be nice if everyone respected the host's music. There's one who insists on playing country music loud and late after he's had a few."
It's important to Janes that guests have a sharing frame of mind. "One night when I was married we were expecting a bloke around. He turned up early with a bottle of dentist's gas and by the time I got home he and the missus were on the floor giggling away. I thought that was slightly uncool."