Adiabatic self-heating tests were carried out on five New Zealand coal samples ranging in rank from lignite to high-volatile bituminous. Kinetic parameters of oxidation were obtained from the self-heating curves assuming Arrhenius behaviour. The activation energy E (kJ mol−1) and the pre-exponential factor A (s−1) were determined in the temperature range of 70–140°C. The activation energy exhibited a definite rank relationship with a minimum E of 55 kJ mol−1 occurring at a Suggate rank of ~6.2 corresponding to subbituminous C. Either side of this rank there was a noticeable increase in the activation energy indicating lower reactivity of the coal. A similar rank trend was also observed in the R70 self-heating rate index values that were taken from the initial portion of the self-heating curve from 40 to 70°C. From these results it is clear that the adiabatic method is capable of providing reliable kinetic parameters of coal oxidation.