This easy chair is significant for its association with the Rev Dr Thomas Burns rather than as a piece of furniture in its own right. Burns comes across as a rather stern and humourless man in his public persona as the founding minister of the Otago settlement scheme. But he was also a loving husband and father, a shrewd and capable farmer and one of very few older people in the infant settlement. This easy chair from the First Church manse perhaps reminds us of Burns the family man at leisure. His daughter Jane lovingly recalled this aspect of her father’s character in her memoirs:

“Father brought his chair from the study in the evening and we gathered around him, and he fought his battles over again; told us stories about his father and mother, brothers and sisters, his school and college days, his work in Ayrshire and very often that memorable march of the outward bound on the 18th May 1843.”