I am a Ngati Awa/Ngati Porou woman who works as an academic at the University of Auckland. This paper discusses the implications of such a statement and attempts to locate the 'dilemma' within a set of theoretical issues. In particular the paper examines the role of Maori academics and Maori academic work at the points where these roles and this work engages with the 'official' roles and work of traditional academics. It will be argued that the spaces in which Maori academics work are marginal spaces which are constantly struggled over. One of these spaces is located within the definition of who an academic is and what that means for people who are not formally recognised as academics. Although the major examples of this paper are drawn in relation to university academics it is also argued that Maori academic work can never be located only in universities. Maori academics work in schools, Colleges of Education and Polytechnics, in community settings and Maori, iwi and political organisations.