By Alice Wilkins
Young friends from neighbourhoods across Auckland are forming bike crews that battle each other – with music.
The boys wire up and attach loudspeakers to their bikes, before taking to the street.
The neighbourhood friends have formed a crew known as Straight Outta Roskill. They all live close to each other, and they all love music.
They say they got the idea from watching older youths have music battles in their cars.
But because they're too young to drive, they hook sound systems up to their bikes to battle other crews in Auckland.
"We just fiddled around with a bunch of wires, a few speakers, and that's how we got into it, until we heard about these competitions," says Amini Latu. "We only found out about these last year, and we just wanted to make things louder – go bigger, go louder. Go bigger, go better."
There are about 30 boys in the crew, some as young as 10, and they organise battles by messaging other bike crews online.
Sometimes they battle for each other's loudspeakers or, as they call them, sirens, and sometimes for the title of Siren King.
The goal is to be the loudest. Today, they're taking on a crew from Onehunga.
"It's better than fighting," says Amini. "Us, we don't get along with them; we don't like them at all, but this is how we settle it. Instead of a fight, this is our type of fight."
While it's mostly just good fun, some people are less than impressed with how loud the noise can get.
But the boys say when they are asked to turn the music down, they pack up their sirens and get on their way.
"It can be annoying at times, but it keeps them out of trouble," says Stephanie Kaufusi. "They don't cause no harm [sic], to be very honest."
They don't want to be called a gang. Mostly you'll find them in Roskill south, working on each other's bikes and sharing their music, in readiness for the next battle.