I think the primary problem with our current flag is the confusion with the Australian flag. I think we do need to redesign our flag but still retain a familiarity.
Our British heritage is an essential part of what has created modern NZ, but it should take a lower profile on the redesigned flag. In this attached design the Union Jack is faded to 20%.
The Southern Cross was a celestial icon recognised by the British explorers, but the star formation most important to Maori culture is Matariki. And our flag needs to recognise the value of our Maori culture. So Matariki replaces the Southern Cross.
But what is most important about NZ is the people, the people, the people. Our silver fern on black background is the branding of our most well-known sports team; but as important as sport is to our nation, our nationhood is about much more than sport.
Our established "made in New Zealand" emblem is the Kiwi.
Globally we are affectionately referred to as Kiwis.
The Kiwi emblem would be the one thing that most graphically distinguishes our flag from Australia.
The Kiwi, the people, should be the third emblem to represent our nation.