Yumiko grew up in a rural town near Kobe, in the southwest of the island of Honshu, Japan. Since childhood, she has enjoyed exploring the natural world, led by her interest in plants and their diversity. In 2017, she moved to Aotearoa, New Zealand, which she now calls home, after spending time in the UK, Australia and Japan during and after her studies.
She is the Associate Curator of Botany at Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, where she works with a team of botanists looking after and conducting research on plant collections. Her interests include the whakapapa (lineages) and diversity of plants, and the discovery and naming of new species. Her borderless love for plants extends to native, naturalised, wild and cultivated species.
Yumiko’s passion is accentuating plants, especially those with obscure flowers and fruits, which are otherwise difficult to notice. As native New Zealand plants often have small, green and scentless flowers, we sometimes need encouragement to find them. Together with Mamakan, she has been documenting these obscure but beautiful flowers, in the hope that they can inspire many more people by tuning into nature through Mamakan’s art.