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Staying calm when noise abounds

Last updated 05:00 02/04/2014
Jake Faafua
Emma Whittaker
NOISE CONTROLLER: Jake Faafua’s job is all about keeping a calm demeanour. 

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Cool, calm, collected.

Those are the three traits you've got to have if you're going to be a noise control officer, Mr Faafua says.

He has been in the industry for 20 years and has found himself in some sticky situations.

"Most people are quite good, but you get the odd one that is arrogant or wants to fight you.

"But you can turn it around by putting a smile on your face and just having a chat with them.

"It's all about how you deal with it," he says.

If a person ignores a warning about excessive noise, their stereo or other offending property can be seized. It's something Mr Faafua estimates he has had to do more than 1000 times.

"There are so many scenarios for seizures, it would blow your mind.

"Some people really don't want us to get in."

He's had to go through windows, back doors, under houses and even up ladders to get the job done.

He thought he'd seen it all until a fellow officer told him about a recent situation where police were forced to batter down a door when a person wasn't willing to give up their property.

"I've never come across that before," he says.

Mr Faafua mainly covers the central Auckland area.

Officers deal with all kinds of noise from parties, pool pumps, heat pumps, extractor fans, road works, construction - and neighbours who like to play musical instruments outdoors at odd hours of the night.

The standard for excessive noise is set out in law.

It can be measured with equipment but initially officers make a judgement call.

"I can listen now and know if it'll be over or under [the decibel limit]," Mr Faafua says.

There are times when a person who has complained about a noise doesn't agree with his decision.

"You have to be honest with people and tell them how it is. You have to be as attentive as possible and if they want to take it further they can," he says.

His team has had a number of commendations from the public for the good work they do.

One memorable incident was during a university's orientation week.

"There were lots of loud bands. It was one of the most difficult jobs I've been to, it got quite rough."

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- East And Bays Courier

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