Author and teacher Angie Belcher is combining both skills in a workshop to be run at Te Puke library starting later this month.
Comprising six weekly classes, the series is for newcomers to the Western Bay. The programme is a shortened version of a similar programme Angie ran in Rotorua earlier in the year.
''Angie approached me about running a writing workshop for migrants in Te Puke and I jumped on board - it's so exciting,'' says Te Puke Library team leader Amanda-Jane McFadden.
''We are such a melting pot of different cultures here that it would be lovely for people to hear each others' stories and get to know each others' cultures as well - I think that's really important.''
Angie says the Rotorua programme saw 27 people from 18 different countries take part.
''It was a real mixture of demographics, of cultures, of religions,'' she says.
The programme is called Write from the Heart and the intention isn't for the classes to teach English.
''It's about finding whatever's inside you and finding ways of putting it down on paper.''
A comradeship developed at the Rotorua classes.
''Even if they couldn't speak any English they tended to help each other and even if they didn't speak the same language, there was this commonality among them, of understanding.''
To get things started, Angie suggested sharing a photo of someone important from home.
''They wrote a description of them or a memory of them.
''Then we moved on and we looked at our senses and how we can use our senses in writing. Different smells invoke different memories and that created a lot of discussions which they all wrote about.
''In some cases they maybe only had a few words they knew, but they found a way of using the few words they knew in a way that was either a poem or an idea so that people not from their country or religion could understand it.''
By the end of the course, Angie felt the writing was so good it had to be seen.
''We write for ourselves but the way we get other people to understand our culture is to share it, so when they felt brave enough, they were able to read it or write it down and share it.''
Brazilian graphic artist Lucia Lemos Monteiro Conceicao created a series of interpretive artworks to accompany the writing. A planned display at Rotorua's Art Village had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic but the writing and artworks were combined in a book called Mixed and the artworks later displayed in a Rotorua cafe.
Amanda says what happens to what is produced at the Te Puke workshops will depend on the writers, although a library exhibition is a possibility.
Angie says there are many facets to the classes.
''There are so many different aspects to this, not just the writing,'' she says. ''The writing becomes the vehicle for all the discussion - and it's an opportunity to share something about them or their journey or to share their culture to help other people understand it.''
The classes are free and will start on October 31 from 9.30am-11am and run for six weeks.