Wellington Scoop

World record tunnel tooting contest postponed till July

Saturday’s tunnel tooting record attempt in the Mt Victoria Tunnel on Saturday has been postponed.

The organisers’ Facebook page shows the event is now scheduled for July 31. There’s no explanation for the change.

The DomPost says police will be monitoring the area on Saturday. They acknowledged a counter event encouraging people to throw rotten fruit at tooters’ cars was also on their radar. As of Friday afternoon, that event had attracted exactly zero followers.

News from Hearing Assn – February 21
Members of the Hearing Association Wellington Inc. would like to express their concern about a Facebook event occurring this Saturday – Set the tunnel tooting world record. The event is in response to recent efforts to prevent people from tooting through the Mt Victoria tunnel.

According to the Facebook event details, its aim is to set a world record for the amount of ‘toots’ tooted in the Mount Victoria Tunnel in one day

At the time of writing, 3,000 people have signed up to take part, with another 15,000 registering as “interested”.

While this might seem fun to motorists, for any pedestrian or cyclist using the tunnel during this event it could have catastrophic effects on their hearing. Background noise in the tunnel typically measures 80-85 dB. A single vehicle sounding its horn close to the pedestrian walkway takes this up to around 90 dB. The prospect of dozens of vehicles constantly sounding their horns in that echo chamber of a tunnel is horrific. Exposure to 115 dB will cause damage in just 30 seconds. Even at 103 dB, the maximum permissible exposure time 7.5 minutes. The tunnel is 660 metres long. A typical walker will take 10-12 minutes to cover that distance.

Our Audiologist Dr Lisa Seerup advises: “This level causes damage. Not if, but how much, and for children and babies the noise levels do not need to be as loud to cause the same damage.”

(Source: http://dangerousdecibels.org/education/information-center/decibel-exposure-time-guidelines/)

In light of this danger, the Hearing Association is calling on the Mayor and Wellington City Council to either close the tunnel to pedestrians and cyclists during this event and provide alternate, safe transport through it, or for Council staff to man the tunnel at either end and hand out industrial-strength hearing protectors to all users. This is a serious Health and Safety issue and Council would be frivolous to ignore it.

It is perhaps doubly ironic that this event should come a little over a week before Hearing Awareness Week running from 3–9 March, part of which is to warn people about noise-induced hearing loss caused by exposure to excessive sound levels.


  1. pjclutterbuck, 21. February 2019, 18:19

    Thanks for the warning. I’ll detour through Newtown on Saturday.

  2. Manny, 22. February 2019, 13:20

    The words ” Idiot savages” comes to mind.

  3. Dave B, 22. February 2019, 14:27

    Ha ha. Better to close the tunnel to motorists during this event! That will solve it.

    Hey, no. Better idea. Fill the tunnel with foam so that when they toot their horns all you get is bubbles.

  4. Chris Horne, 22. February 2019, 14:37

    What infantile behaviour.

  5. Manny, 24. February 2019, 10:57

    It’s anti-social behavior supported by local authorities that should be protecting people’s hearing. Postponing this stupidity may be even more stupid.