A man was arrested overnight after police discovered fresh graffiti along Gladstone Rd, a main thoroughfare in Gisborne.
A 19-year-old man has been charged with wilful damage, with the damage caused likely to run into the thousands.
Police have so far found around 25 separate buildings, fences and a vehicle that were painted.
"No one has the right to deface another person's property," said Senior Sergeant Mike Stevenson.
"This is just plain outright vandalism that will cost a number of good people a substantial amount of money to rectify."
Police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the graffiti.
The suspect has been bailed to appear in Gisborne District Court in September.
Anyone else affected by the damage is urged to make a report via the Gisborne central police station on (06) 831 0700.