For several months, residents of a town in New Zealand have been exposed to an unusual scourge: nightly competitions over loudspeakers between motorists fond of the songs of Canadian Celine Dion.
“It’s bothering us and people can’t sleep anymore,” Anita Baker, mayor of Porirua, which has a population of 60,000, told AFP on Thursday.
Voice battles have become a trend in New Zealand for several years. The goal of each participant is to saturate the sound of others with his own voice, through ultra-powerful audio systems.
“They love Celine Dion,” Ms. Baker says. Porirua residents can no longer listen to his songs such as “My Heart Will Go On” and “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, especially as the “fights” sometimes last until 2am, according to the mayor.
Randomly, during the week or on weekends, competitors park their cars with their engines running, blast their music at the top of their lungs and change positions frequently to avoid the police.
“This is happening in our city centre, which is in a basin, so the noise spreads like a drum to all the suburbs,” Ms Baker explains.
According to the elected official, the “fights” began in November 2022, when local rugby fans celebrated Samoa’s performance in the Rugby League World Cup, where the Pacific nation reached the final.
Ms Baker has already received numerous complaints from frustrated residents, and an online petition is now circulating to put an end to the cacophony.
The mayor says she is determined to find a solution with the police: “We don’t want people to flee our city because of the noise.”
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