New parents are having sleepless nights because of cars playing loud music outside a South Auckland birth unit.
It comes after West Aucklanders spoke of ‘mermaid fighters’ blasting Celine Dion songs into the wee hours of the morning. One woman said she planned to move because of the noise.
The general manager of Nga Hau Māngere Birth Center, Chloe Wright, said that a few weekends ago, a car encounter with more than 100 vehicles took place in downtown Māngere, next to the unity. The loud music continued all night.
Since then, Wright said, a number of drivers showed up at the parking lot and had “mermaid battles,” as well as urinating outside the center.
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“It’s just all these cars fighting over the noise. I understand it’s hard for young people to find a place to do it, but to do it near the birth house is totally inappropriate.
“This is meant to be a sanctuary for new moms and newborn babies. People giving birth or having a new baby need peace.
Jon Baulcomb, managing director of Māngere Health, owner of the downtown medical buildings, said the problems started after a car meeting was held there on February 5.
He believed some of the people who attended the car meet, which was run by the Disruptive Car Club, were responsible for the continued noise.
“I tried to stop him by speaking with the local police, who in turn told me to call 111, but the operators just tell me it’s a council problem.
“I have the impression that no one will take responsibility for the problem. I understand it’s their hobby, but it shouldn’t happen outside of a midnight birth unit.
Baulcomb thought that since the recent auto club meeting, some mermaid fighters now thought the parking lot was an acceptable meeting place.
“Some music isn’t that bad but not at this volume at this time of night, sometimes it’s just siren sounds.”
Toni Helleur, a spokeswoman for IAmMāngere, which in the past has helped Disruptive Car Club with compliance advice, said it didn’t help organize the last meet, but the space was used by the club over the past decade.
“There was always this understanding that it was their domain. I think some of them feel left out.
“I don’t think the siren and noise issues are coming from the car club, but there are a few siren clubs that joined later that night.”
Helleur said these groups were “mermaid fighters” ruining things for the auto club community.
“What happened was the sirens came later. It was an awful time of night and place for it, and I saw the complaints from the community.
Wright said she contacted Auckland Police and Council about the situation as cars would park right outside the gates of the centre, which was for ambulances only.
“There are groups of men in their cars all night and our staff feel intimidated by them.”
Speaker thieves ride sirens on their bikes to mimic the older men featured in these car-mounted speaker “battles.” Police say they doubt these speakers will be stolen due to the sophistication of the setups.
Wright said she just wanted a solution, where drivers could go elsewhere to play music.
A police spokesperson said they were aware of the concerns, which began after the encounter with the car.
“Police were aware of the event in advance and no complaints were filed during the event,” he said.
“Anyone concerned about illegal or anti-social behavior should contact the police at this time, so that we have the opportunity to respond immediately.”
The Disruptive Car Club has been contacted for comment.