"It's not to p*** people off."
So says Junior Halatoa, part of the growing sirening scene that has about 50 "clubs" across Auckland.
"There are many reasons why you do sirens," says Wiliam Pasa, leader of Straight Original Riders, which counts Halatoa among its members.
They include creating a sense of brotherhood and the "love of sound and music".
"We represent the dead, we represent our community," says Pasa.
Sirening is the subculture that sees music played through loudspeakers attached to bicycles and cars. It takes its name from the siren-shaped speakers often fitted to the front of vehicles.
Sireners, who are usually part of "crews", play a mix of music but tracks with high treble suitable for the siren speakers dominate.
There are "battles" across Auckland most Saturdays, with crews vying to see whose sirens are loudest and clearest.
On a balmy Saturday evening in late March at the Manukau Velodrome, about 30 cars are in attendance by 5.30pm, with a select few rattling the eardrums of spectators in a bid to win the night's competitions.
Typically two cars face off, with judges picking the winner based on volume and clarity of amplification.
It's a casual occasion where competitors and spectators mingle and socialise between the modified cars.
People don T-shirts honouring lost loved ones. There is a sense of loyalty and community.
It is a more relaxed affair than the "big battle" in Mt Wellington later in the evening.
There, a procession of about 150 cars blares out an eclectic and deafening mix of songs simultaneously.
Senior members of Straight Original Riders, "Mando" and Masi Leka, explain the origins.
Sirening draws musical and stylistic similarities to the "lowrider" subculture in some Mexican American communities.
Mando remembers watching YouTube videos from the 2000s of people adding speaker systems to their cars.
Leka says the scene originated in central Auckland but notes that every crew will claim it started in their suburb.
Mando admits some family members question why he would want to make so much noise.
But he credits a key figure in the sirening community, Napoleon Pasa, for saving him from a life involved in gangs.
Now he is an authority and celebrity within the subculture, which he says is attracting and influencing new members through social media.
Halatoa, 15, has been in the community since 2020 and agrees it's an alternative to getting mixed up with gangs or drugs.
"It keeps us out of trouble," he says.
Halatoa got involved when he saw two people on the way home from school and started talking to them about their sirens.
He is now a member of Straight Original Riders, based in Mt Albert and Mt Roskill.
Halatoa says bikes fitted with sound systems sometimes battle the cars, and win.
He's done 10 battles on his bike and hasn't lost yet.
"Heaps" of his friends are involved in the subculture and there are about 15 people in his crew.
The Straight Original Riders meet "every now and then" at Ōwairaka Park in Mt Albert.
Their musical influences include jazz, R&B, hip hop and anything with a "vibe".
But not everyone appreciates this growing phenomenon.
One person living near the park came out "in his undies" and threw Halatoa's cellphone on to the ground during a confrontation.
Another says the sirens are "a pain in the arse".
Auckland Council's regulatory and compliance manager, James Hassall, says "excessive … noise is generally unacceptable".
Hassall says the Unitary Plan sets out limits to "protect people from unreasonable levels of noise".
Police commander for Auckland City West, Inspector Grant Tetzlaff, says officers have stopped some drivers playing music through speakers on their cars.
"When police are made aware of these issues … we aim to educate on the annoyance this can have for members of the community."
But the Mt Albert Residents' Association has not had any complaints about the sireners.
Patron Sir Harold Marshall - a founder of Marshall Day Acoustics - says he supposes "young people will do what they do" and that the sireners are "no great nuisance" to him.
Keren, who wants to be known as "Mando's Missus", says: "If we see old people or parents with children we won't [play our sirens]. We won't always see people, but we try to be respectful."
Mando's Missus says if a resident asked someone to stop playing their sirens and were respectful she expects people would comply.
She adds that anybody is welcome within the community, as long as they come with an open mind and with respect.
One teenage sirener, who didn't want to be named, says people judge them because they're "Islanders", but wants people to understand it's a diverse community "just having fun".
Pasa says the subculture has a mix of ethnicities, including Asian, Indian and Pākehā.
One battle sounded like an "Indian rave".
Pasa has inherited leadership of the Straight Original Riders from his father, Napoleon, who founded the crew in 2012 and is remembered by the community after his death last year.
Although members see it as a "hobby" where they dance, enjoy music and get to "vibe", they are sometimes stopped by police who think the sirens are stolen.
That's not the case, Pasa says: If anything, police give out tickets for licence and registration offences.
While the scene is largely self-policing, Mando warns some new arrivals don't share the appropriate values: Loyalty, respect and a sense of community.
They might be seeking social media "clout", prestige or influence that comes with greater risk-taking.
"Drinking is a problem," he says.
His crew are receptive to working with the council to find places for playing their music and say "alcohol won't be allowed".
Back in Mt Wellington, the police arrive at 1am to put an end to the get-together.
Two cars turn up and wait at the end of the street until everyone has left peacefully.
Mando acknowledges some are disappointed by the police presence but says officers "are just doing their jobs".
"If you are smart you will leave and not cause trouble."
Mando says the risk of losing your licence or vehicle - and with it the ability to showcase your sirening skills - is a big deterrent to causing trouble.
"A few people can ruin it for the whole scene."