Councillor for Burwood Ward.

Councillor for Burwood Ward, Kelly Barber

Get in touch with Kelly


Councillor for Burwood Ward, Kelly Barber

About Kelly

Kelly was born in Christchurch and grew up as the eldest of eight children. His family moved to Nelson when he was young. After high school at Nelson College he went to University in Ohio, USA for several years before returning to Christchurch permanently and finishing his degree at Canterbury University. He has lived in Burwood with his family for over 30 years.

Kelly spent his career in Account Management in the Health Sector for international corporates – GSK, Johnson & Johnson and EBOS Healthcare. 

Kelly was first elected to the Waitai Coastal-Burwood Community Board in 2019 and elected Chair of the Community Board shortly after, continuing a family line of public service going back generations. Kelly’s great-grandfather, Daniel Giles Sullivan, served as Mayor of Christchurch from 1931 to 1936 and was also an MP for 26 years.

In 2022 Kelly was elected City Councillor for the Burwood Ward representing a diverse range of suburbs including Burwood, Dallington, Avondale, Wainoni, Aranui and the large new developments in Marshland and Prestons.

As well as Councillor for the Burwood Ward, Kelly is appointed to the Avon-Heathcote Estuary Ihutai Trust, Canterbury Waste Joint Committee, Canterbury Regional Landfill Joint Committee, Insurance Subcommittee, and Aerospace Leadership Working Group (a group supporting our city’s budding Aerospace industry). 

Outside of work, Kelly has a range of interests. He has completed numerous Coast to Coasts, written two books, represented NZ in triathlon, written and presented webinars and been a motivational speaker. Kelly and his wife Melissa have three adult children.

Kelly gets involved. In the community, he volunteers for the local community watch, plantings and clean-ups and was a trustee of the Marshland Hall Trust. He is passionate about seeing the best in people and empowering local communities, especially young people, and encourages them to get involved and to aim high. He has chaired a high school football club and coached and managed teams.

His favourite saying is “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right!’