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Veteran paniolo and pastor dies
of injuries from ATV accident

The victim has been identified as Abraham Akau, 81

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 09:14 p.m. HST, Jul 21, 2012

The Rev. Abraham Akau Sr., a legendary paniolo, pastor and longtime mentor at Kualoa Ranch, died today from injuries in an all-terrain vehicle crash.

Akau, 81, was crossing to the mauka side of Kamehameha Highway on a Suzuki ATV at about 11:05 a.m. when he struck a Kaneohe-bound 2002 Saturn driven by a 37-year-old Hauula woman, police said. Akau was thrown and suffered critical injuries. He was taken to Castle Medical Center, where he died. 

Akau, who lived across the street from Kualoa Ranch, was leaving his house and heading to the ranch just before the crash, said a ranch employee who witnessed the incident.

“It’s tragic,” Art Aoki Jr., Akau’s first cousin once removed, said at the crash site.

Akau was a longtime horse trainer and visited Kualoa Ranch nearly every day, despite having retired as foreman years ago, family members said. 

Born in Waimea on Hawaii island, he began working for Parker Ranch when he was 15. He was 22 when he started working for Kualoa Ranch in 1953. In 1999, he became one of the first members of the Oahu Cattlemen’s Association’s Paniolo Hall of Fame.

Akau was also the senior pastor at His Highest Praise church in Kaaawa.

“He was like a dad to all of us,” said Aoki, 62, of Kalihi Valley, who remembered visiting Akau at Kualoa Ranch as a boy. “He’d share with us life stories, and from there you grow.”

He said Akau touched many people and loved Kualoa Ranch.

“He was thankful every day of his life for God to bring him here to Kualoa Ranch,” Aoki said. “This was his love. His love was bringing young kids here to experience the life of the outdoors.”

The flags at Kualoa Ranch were at half-staff today after the crash.

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kahu808 wrote:
It's an off-road vehicle and shouldn't be on the road.
on July 21,2012 | 04:37PM
st1d wrote:
rest in peace abraham. condolences to the family.
on July 21,2012 | 08:45PM
lifeisgood wrote:
My thoughts and prayers to the family and friend of Rev. Akau.
on July 21,2012 | 10:02PM
Bothrops wrote:
Our loss and our condolences to the family.
on July 21,2012 | 10:04PM
MililaniGirl wrote:
Rest In Paradise! May God be with the family during this time.
on July 21,2012 | 10:27PM
tutulady wrote:
Uncle Abe was not only a great paniola, he was a friend to all who knew him. He was a big man, with a smile for everyone he met. In the good ole days of round-up times, he taught everyone how to handle the cows as they had to be moved from one pasture to another, and how to brand or give them their "shots". You didn't have to be a cowboy, you just had to have a horse, boys and girls, men and women, all were invited to participate, and they learned from him, that everyone and everything were God's creatures and were to be handled with respect and dignity. He will be remembered by all who were blessed to have known him. God Bless His Family. God Bless Uncle Abe.
on July 21,2012 | 11:06PM
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