Hilary Barry made her mark at Wellington's Queen Margaret College, becoming head prefect in her final year. She tried architecture at Victoria University, before realising she was more suited to journalism school. After completing the course she got a job in the Wairarapa, at a small private radio station owned and run by Paul Henry.
Headhunted by Radio New Zealand, she moved to nearby Masterton but after a few years decided to make the move into television. She managed to talk her way into a job in TV3's Christchurch newsroom after telling them she loved TV3's news. The reality was reception in the Wairarapa meant she hadn't been able to see it. Six months later she relocated to Auckland where she has been based since, for much of that time balancing her television work with radio.
By 1998 Hilary was presenting on late-night news show Nightline, and doing fill-in shifts on the primetime 6pm news. In 2005 she a became permanent anchor alongside Mike McRoberts and would go on to travel to London for the 2011 royal wedding and San Francisco for the 2013 America's Cup. In 2011 she reported on the famine in Africa, for 3 News and 60 Minutes, visiting one of the world's largest refugee camps on the border between Kenya and Somalia.
Hilary spent a decade reading morning news at More FM before joining talkback station RadioLive in early 2009, doing interviews and news reading. She also continued to anchor the primetime news.
In April 2016 Barry announced she was leaving TV3. Four months later it was confirmed that she'd be taking over as co-host on TVNZ's Breakfast alongside Jack Tame. Earlier this year it was announced that she would be moving to TVNZ's high profile Seven Sharp slot, after the primetime news.
Hilary and her husband Mike have two children.