Siren kings: New Zealand city terrorised by Céline Dion ‘speaker battles’

A small town in New Zealand is dealing with a recurring issue of “siren battles” where cars with loudspeakers, typically used for emergency warnings, blast Céline Dion songs. The local community is requesting that authorities intervene and put a stop to the disruptive noise.

The battles are part of a New Zealand subculture where music enthusiasts cover their cars in up to dozens of industrial speakers, loudhailers and sirens, then compete to have the loudest and clearest sounds.

The mayor of Porirua, Anita Baker, stated that residents are being disturbed at night by cars that drive around the streets or gather in parking lots for speaker competitions.

Baker stated that either these individuals must find an alternative place to go or they must cease their actions.

Céline Dion’s music is a commonly selected option for siren battles, a tradition that began within the Pasifika community in south Auckland. Despite causing noise complaints, siren battles have also fostered a sense of community. According to a report from local media source The Spinoff, a member of a siren group stated that Dion’s music is popular due to its clear sound, high treble, and minimal bass. However, Baker claims that the “siren kings” of Porirua are disturbing residents with their unwanted renditions of Dion’s songs.

“They only play a portion of a song and manipulate it on their devices, creating a jarring sound that doesn’t even qualify as good music,” stated Baker, who advocates for respectful siren creators. “I don’t mean to be harsh, but it’s not a complete song by any means.”

A request for the involvement of the local council, which was initiated at the beginning of this month, has amassed hundreds of signatures. Numerous individuals have also voiced their grievances to Baker, with some even contemplating leaving the city if the issue persists.

In the past, there was an agreement in Porirua to have organized siren battles occur in industrial areas away from residential areas and end by 10pm, according to the mayor. However, in the past year, there have been numerous battles in the city center and residential areas where loud music and emergency siren noises are being played at all hours of the night. A petition has been created asking the council to address this problem.

The issue is worsened by the location of Porirua, which is near Wellington, according to Baker.

The shaking can be felt throughout the city due to its location in a basin, causing much frustration.

According to a report from RNZ, the police have been notified of approximately 40 incidents of siren battles occurring between February and October of this year. A spokesperson for the police stated that they are trying to identify the individuals responsible for stealing speakers, and that district police teams in Porirua have been informed about the resurgence of these battles. Baker is collaborating with the police, as well as regional and local council authorities, to address this issue.

Diana Paris expressed her frustration with the prolonged disturbance of peace on the account for the petition.

“I find pleasure in listening to Céline Dion at my preferred volume in the comfort of my lounge. However, I do not appreciate hearing it interrupted at random times between 7pm and 2am.”


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