Smashed windows, vandalised property, and stolen goods marred a normally quiet weekend in a Hawke's Bay coastal suburb.

In the early hours of Saturday morning a group of people are reported to have thrown rocks at houses in Waimarama, before stealing a wheelie bin and setting it on fire with a public barbecue.

The activity appears to have been centred at the Waimarama Domain and nearby streets.

One resident - who did not wish to be named - said his family were now on edge, having been woken by rocks thrown at their house early on Saturday morning.

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"There were massive crunches as rocks were rolling off the roof," he said. "It was quite a stressful night, we had kids staying here."

He had gone outside to confront the group, but called the police after the rocks "kept hailing down".

"It's very disturbing, [the rocks] could have easily hurt someone. We were fortunate it only chipped some glazing."

The man said a well-hidden can of petrol had also been stolen from his boat. The boat "was near the sleepout where we had some guests staying, they were 5m away. It was pretty scary".

At other houses a ranchslider, and windows were also reported to have been smashed - including one at Waimarama Surf Lifesaving Club.

Around 3am, the Waimarama volunteer fire brigade were called to the domain, fire service central communications shift manager David Meikle said, where a "barbecue was on fire".

A local resident said it appeared the group had set a wheelie bin alight on the coin-operated barbecue.

This was part of a new area at the domain, and was only several months old, she said.

"A lot of people donated stuff for this, its been very nice and useful and now it's gone," she said. "Now it's destroyed, it's an awful mess."

Mr Meikle said the fire had been extinguished quickly, and the matter was left with the police.

Eastern District Command Centre Senior Sergeant Dan Foley said it appeared police had gone out to Waimarama, but not in time to catch those responsible.

At that time on a Saturday morning Mr Foley said police were "moving from event to event, and sometimes it's hard to get there".

He was not sure what the next step would be for police.

A Hastings District Council spokeswoman said their staff were now investigating the incident - as the domain and barbecue were council owned.

When asked if there would be any liability, she said if the fire was found to be a malicious act, rather than an electrical fault, the police would be notified.

Depending on damage to the barbecue insurance could be needed. She said if the guilty party were found, the council could seek compensation through the court.

Near the domain is Bulled Wheelie Bins - a spokesperson said he had not heard about the incident, but as they supplied bins to most of the suburb he guessed the burned one was theirs.