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Writer, film-maker and sculptor Frankie Wood is 92 years-old and has been an entertainer since childhood. She still performs with her life-sized puppets, mouth organ or accordion and is always ready to burst into song. But Jack Perkins discovers that Frankie’s talent and energy are also reflected in a life crammed with incident and adventure. (The second of two programmes. The first was broadcast on 20th November 2011.)

Franki Wood with puppet Ho Chin Wag small

Franki Wood with puppet Ho Chin Wag

In the first programme Frankie recalled singing for world-renown Australian light opera star Gladys Moncrieff. Moncrieff advised on Frankie’s training but a singing career was cut short when hard times brought on by the great depression. The 1931 Napier earthquake added to their woes and Franki joined a stream of refugees fleeing the devastated city.

Franki Wood in her workshop small

Franki Wood in her workshop

In this second programme, Frankie Wood recalls the housing shortage after World War 2 and spartan conditions in the newly founded state housing settlement of Taita in the Hutt valley. In her 60s, Frankie turned her many talents to helping youth offenders in Witako prison.

Franki Wood and her Maori themes small

Franki Wood and her Maori themes