‘Sleep is a basic human right’: New Zealand city kept awake by Celine Dion ‘siren battles’
PORIRUA, New Zealand – Some residents in a New Zealand city are kept awake at night – no thanks to “siren battles” blasting pop icon Celine Dion’s hits.
Drivers in Porirua deck their cars with sirens, loudhailers and industrial speakers and compete to have the clearest and loudest sounds, reported The Guardian on Tuesday.
The battles are part of a New Zealand subculture called “siren kings”.
The BBC said earlier this week that the cars can have between seven and 10 sirens.
Dion’s songs are a popular choice for these battles as her music offer the clearest music, New Zealand news outlet The Spinoff reported in March 2022.
“We try to use music that has high treble, is clear and not much bass,” Mr Paul Lesoa, one of the founders of Siren Battles, said in the report.
These battles have been reported in some locations in the city such as around the Porirua Train Station, according to Radio New Zealand on Oct 19.
Porirua mayor Anita Baker told the radio station that she was “sick to death of the siren battles”.
The Porirua City Council was working with the police and the Greater Wellington Regional Council on how they could stop the siren battles, said Ms Baker, adding that enforcement was ultimately the job of police.
Previously, the Porirua City Council had reached an agreement with those participating in the siren battles, who agreed to go to industrial areas and finish by 10pm, reported the BBC.
However, The Guardian reported that the battles have since returned to residential areas and in the city centre in the last year.
Residents has since started an online petition on Change.org on Oct 6, urging the Porirua City Council to take action.
“Enough is enough. Porirua City Council must act and stop the gathering of car meets blasting music and emergency sirens noises at all hours of the night,” said the petition, which has garnered over 270 signatures so far.
“Ratepayers are tired of the inaction and dismissive attitude shown by the council and the mayor concerning this issue. Disturbances of the peace must be enforced and ratepayers deserve better from their council.”
Among those who commented on the petition was Mr Stephen Lewis, who said: “Sleep is a human basic right. If the Porirua City Council members don’t get it, they should be shown the door.”
Ms Diana Paris commented that she is “sick of the disturbing of the peace that sometimes goes on for hours”.
“Although I enjoy Celine Dion in the comfort of my lounge and at my volume, I do not enjoy hearing fragments of it stopping and starting at any time between 7pm and 2am,” said Ms Paris.