With the arrival of the first westerners to Easter Island, an interesting situation arose: the inhabitants, accustomed to the barter system, wanted to acquire trade items because they were attractive, not because of actual need. It was a trade guided by avarice and not by necessity. That is to say, it was a type of barter that was outside the parameters of regular interchange that was known and carried out in the daily life of the island. Perhaps their new situation had disconcerted them to such an extent that, with the goal of acquiring such diverse objects as hats, cloth, metals and knives from the Europeans, they began to trade even ancestral wooden carved figures.
Rossetti Arredondo, Paula
"The Loss of Sacredness in Woodcarving,"
Rapa Nui Journal: Journal of the Easter Island Foundation: Vol. 13
, Article 3.
Available at: https://kahualike.manoa.hawaii.edu/rnj/vol13/iss3/3