The Rev. Abraham Akau Sr., a legendary paniolo, pastor and longtime mentor at Kualoa Ranch, died Saturday. The Honolulu Police say Akau, 81, was returning to Kualoa Ranch from his home, right across the street. He was crossing 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, Akau was thrown and suffered critical injuries. He was taken to Castle Medical Center, where he died.
Akau began working for Parker Ranch when he was 15, and spent much of his time breaking wild horses. Dr. Billy Bergin, writing in his series of books, Loyal to the Land, The Legendary Parker Ranch, says Akau was part of a long line of paniolo. After Akau left Parker Ranch he settled at Kualoa Ranch in Windward Oahu in 1953.
The late Francis Morgan who established Kualoa Ranch, saw Abe’s special qualities from the start. Mr. Morgan said, “Of all the things I’ve ever done for Kualoa Ranch, the best thing was to hire Abraham Akau.” Akau retired in 1997, but continued to go to the ranch almost every day.
Akau became one of the first members of the Oahu Cattlemen’s Association’s Paniolo Hall of Fame, inducted in 1999.
Akau was also the senior pastor at His Highest Praise church in Kaaawa.