Tributes flow for first native Hawaiian senator Daniel Akaka

There has been an outpouring of tributes in Hawaii and around the region following the death of former United States senator, Daniel Akaka on Friday.

Daniel Akaka, the first native Hawaiian to be elected to the United States Senate Photo: Facebook

Senator Akaka served in the US Army at the end of the Second World War, before becoming an educator and then Democrat politician in 1976.

He was the first native Hawaiian to be elected to the US Senate and he represented Hawaii for over thirty years in Congress.

Among his many achievements, he successfully pushed for the belated recognition of Asians and Asian-Americans who fought for the US during World War II.

He is also known for pushing a bill named after him (Akaka Bill) for almost a decade to establish a process for US federal recognition of Native Hawaiians.

Hawaii state senator Kaiali‘i Kahele said the region had lost a great statesman.

“It is such a tremendous loss for, not just for Hawaii, but really all of the Pacific. Senator Akaka was an icon, he was someone who just lived his life with that aloha spirit, that very warm, warm spirit, that he shared with so many of us. His loss is tremendous. He did such great things in the United States Senate for Hawaii and for the Pacific.”

Kaiali‘i Kahele said funeral details were yet to be announced but he wouldn‘t be surprised if it was a state funeral.

Mr Akaka was 93, and is survived by his wife, children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.