Oct 24, 2023 2 min read

New Zealand city calls for end to Celine Dion ‘siren battles’

Residents of a city in New Zealand are sick of hearing Celine Dion hits blasted out of emergency sirens attached to cars and are calling on the local mayor to do something about it

New Zealand city calls for end to Celine Dion ‘siren battles’

Residents of Porirua in New Zealand are being plagued by the sound of cars blasting out Celine Dion hits through emergency sirens. And they'd quite like it to stop.

The ‘siren battle’ subculture - which has grown in New Zealand over the last 20 years - sees aficionados attach multiple emergency sirens to their cars, and then compete to see who can create the loudest and clearest sound. Music played is often interspersed with actual siren sounds too.

And while various types of music is usually played at such events, Dion is seemingly popular because her songs have a lot of treble and little bass, which suits this type of sound system. ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and ‘The Power Of Love’ are apparently particular favourites.

While not new, the number of events in Porirua has seemingly been increasing, plus this activity has been moving closer to residential areas, much to the dismay of those who can hear the noise being made. Especially when they often take place in the early hours of the morning.

Commenting on a petition launched this month, calling on Porirua mayor Anita Baker to act, one woman wrote: “I’m 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”.

However, while Baker says she is also “sick to death of the siren battles”, she is unable to stop them. “I wish I had the power to”, she tells RNZ.

The issue, she says, is the mobile nature of the siren battles. "For noise control at council, we can go into people's houses and take [their] stereo”, she explains. “When people are in a moving vehicle and they're moving around, that becomes a police issue, not a council issue”.

Police seemingly disagree though, saying that if a car is moving then they can do something about it, but if not in motion then it is actually a matter for the city or state councils.

However, a police spokesperson said that "preventative and enforcement patrolling” was being undertaken, and that officers were engaging with siren battle clubs to try to get them to move to areas that would create less of a disturbance.

There have been complaints about around 40 siren battle events in Porirua in the last eight months - most of them taking place in September and October.

Celine Dion has not commented.

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