Mana and kaitiakitanga capture the relationships essential to Māori perceptions of wellbeing. These relationships reflect the interconnectedness and interdependence of humans with the people, places and things in their worlds, and the responsibilities associated with these relationships. Mana is critical for mokopuna, as is the requirement to action it, through kaitiakitanga (Marsden, 2003; Paul-Burke & Rameka, 2015). Kaitiakitanga recognises the place of humans, including mokopuna, to assume guardianship roles and responsibilities. The article reports on Phase 1 of a two-year Teaching and Learning Research Initiative research project, that aimed to explore ways that early childhood education (ECE) accords mokopuna opportunities to recognise mana and understand ways to attain mana through being kaitiaki of themselves, others and their environment, thereby contributing to a collective sense of wellbeing. In this phase, pūrākau collected from kaumātua and Māori ECE leaders were utilised to illuminate how mana and kaitiakitanga were traditionally upheld for the benefit and wellbeing of all.