Pākehā popstar Lorde’s 2021 launch of Te Ao Mārama, a mini album of songs in te reo Māori, triggered a debate among Māori online. Some argued the album made te reo more accessible, while others saw it as a hurtful reminder of the language’s inaccessibility to many Māori. This article examines Māori attitudes about language revitalisation expressed in ten opinion pieces and one media article responding to this media event. Specifically, we explore what the metaphors used by Māori commentators can tell us about contemporary Māori attitudes towards the revitalisation of te reo Māori. Our analysis highlights that, for many Māori, engaging in learning te reo Māori requires engaging with a world of hurt. We encourage researchers, language planners and teachers to take trauma into account in Māori language revitalisation initiatives and identify an urgent need for non-Māori to reflect on their positionality within Māori language learning, policy, and research.