A Hawke's Bay woman left her house for 10 minutes and returned to find an unknown man inside.

The woman went into her Takapau house about 10.30am on Saturday to find the man inside.

The man attempted to run away from the Charles St house and a short scuffle ensued, resulting in the woman being assaulted.

During the attack, the woman managed to hit the man in his face which is likely to have caused bruising or swelling.

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The man is described as Maori or Pacific Islander, of solid build with short shaven hair. He was wearing running clothes.

Police said the woman was being supported by her friends and family and Victim Support.

Call police on (06) 873 0500 or anonymously call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if you saw anything suspicious in Charles St or the surrounding area.