A plan to keep Tauranga's tsunami alert sirens cheap, simple and loud will be tested at four locations around Mount Maunganui and Papamoa later this month.
Papamoa Progressive Association has enlisted the help of Tactical Tooling, which manufactures a modern version of the traditional World War II air raid siren.
The October 19 tests will involve two generator-powered sirens being hoisted up on cherry pickers at open locations which association president Steve Morris hoped would not annoy neighbours too much.
Members would be stationed at regular intervals up and down the coast, with others in the city and at Te Puke and Te Puna. The association has invited the council to take noise measurements.
Mr Morris said the council was not sanctioning the tests but neither had it put any obstacles in the way of the association's initiative.
He said the call for an effective civil defence warning system for Papamoa and the rest of Tauranga had been a grassroots community initiative and the feedback to the tests had been amazing.
"People are saying 'good stuff, we want them loud'."
The association's testing of air raid-type sirens was at odds with the council's decision to authorise Meerkat Alert Systems to carry out engineering design and consenting for a system of 60 smaller electronic alarms.
Mr Morris said Tactical Tolling was saying it could cover the city with seven sirens costing about $200,000 installed - about a quarter of the cost of the council's preference.
"Ratepayers' funds is something we are concerned about."
He said the tests in which the sirens would cycle up and down followed by a level all-clear tone was based on the WWII system that warned people of approaching bombers.
"Older members of the community will remember this."
Mr Morris said the association wanted an all-purpose civil defence siren that not only warned of tsunami but other emergencies like when an ash cloud was on the way from a volcanic eruption.
He said the new generation sirens were not only louder than traditional air raid sirens but they did not have to be wound right up to be tested. They were simply turned over once a year. Another advantage was that they were very reliable and low maintenance.