How do you take them, is it a disadvantage to not have them if your school does not have IB / A Levels, and how difficult are they compared to NCEA.
You can take AP exams at Auckland International College in Auckland, New Zealand. Just give them a call and sign up for the exams you want.
It is not a disadvantage if you do not take APs; you just need to be doing some NCEA Scholarship Exams to show the rigor of your courseload. Also take as many SAT subject tests as you can. A past student of mine who was in the NCEA system took 6 scholarship exams and numerous SAT subject tests. She ended up at Harvard University.
Slight follow up - if Scholarship results don’t come back until applications are due, how does this show the rigor of your study? Do colleges consider predicted / mock Scholarship grades, or do you send an update once results come out?
Rigour of courseload does not equal the results you get, it equals the number/difficulty of subjects you take. You can also update the universities after submission of application if you want to update them with results.
To US universities, the results matter less than the process. Universities do not require AP grades to be submitted. They just like the fact that students are challenging themselves by taking AP courses. Of course if you do well and submit AP grades, that would be very beneficial to admissions.