I've a confession to make: I have bought a flagpole to sit on my own little "One Tree Hill" smack in front of my Wellington house.

I've no qualms about bowling the "tree" - it's not even a native but a fading yucca which has not been able to withstand the furious gales that buffet and shake my creaky house.

But I don't want to fly the New Zealand flag: too boring; uninspiring; redolent of colonialism - times spent locked inside a classroom in the searing Blenheim heat being taught British history and learning about the world from an atlas where Britain's domains (including us) were coloured pink.

Not our own full New Zealand history with its wars and conflicts and history of Maori grievances ...

Nor civics. Something which is still not taught in our schools with any degree of vigour and verve, binding our children into a shared sense of what it means to be a New Zealander.

Our flag, the Union flag with its stars of our Southern Cross, does not stir the blood.

It is not a potent emotional symbol like America's Stars and Stripes, instantly recognised within the United States and abroad.

That flag stirs the blood because it does represent the coming of nationhood through the rebellion of the original 13 American colonies against Britain, symbolised by 13 equal horizontal stripes of red and white, and 50 small white stars that represent the number of US states.

Who did not feel an emotional response in seeing televised images of the Stars and Stripes erected amidst the ruins of the Twin Towers after September 11? I certainly did and again when I travelled soon after within the US and saw flags flying outside ordinary folks' homes.

It symbolised patriotism and a confidence that the US would withstand Al Qaeda's terrorism.

Our flag is too much like Australia's.

But a national flag should represent a coming of age.

We have not even begun to debate our future. Our politicians - including a Prime Minister who has spent much of his working life "in the world" - are extraordinarily lacking in courage when it comes to setting a nation on an independent path.

I value British ideals. But today's New Zealand is more Maori, more Pacific and increasingly more Asian.

The new flag I want to fly should be bold, confident, with lots of red - the colour that sharpens the senses and inspires action.

Not simply black: We already have too much black. Men in black. All Blacks. Silver Ferns.

A curling frond does not speak of boldness.