"Quest for a dress" is underway at Patea Area School - bringing in great gear from beautiful ballgowns to fabulous shoes.

Three of the coordinators - Maruata Ngarewa-Cribb., Charlotte Stark and Kaena Anderson - were working through the donations this week on a day off.

It was a teachers-only day at the school but the three keen students were there, unpacking, hanging up ballgowns that had been arriving over the past week.

It's the first school ball at Patea Area school since 1992, they said.


"Most of the students thought a school ball was long overdue so we petitioned the staff," the girls said.

Now the ball is scheduled for Saturday September 10, at a church venue in town which was often used for social events.

Plans include a DJ and lots of "finger food", they said.

The quest started after some students had said affording the cost of getting dressed up and going to the ball would be quite difficult for them and their families.

Now the excitement is building especially with gowns and shoes coming from as far as Auckland. But the piece de resistance will be the arrival of gowns from Paris.

Maruata's great-aunt, who lives in Paris, is collecting ball gear from a group of friends in the French capital.

"It's Facebook that's done all this for us. So many people have read it and made really good comments about how they will help us and how they will spread the word."

Seven Sharp, TVNZ's half-hour long current affairs, had contacted the school to film a story, they said.

"It's very exciting because Native Affairs from Maori Television were also coming to do a story as well.

"And they are probably going to do quite a big story, they told us," the girls said.

Helping their "Quest for a Dress" cause were also two Auckland promoters who were in touch regularly with the students.

Principal Nicola Ngarewa said the coordinating students were leading the way and doing so well.

"I'm very proud of them. They will create a wonderful night out - one the students won't forget."