Integrated analysis and modelling of apatite fission track with vitrinite reflectance (VR) data allows the timing, magnitude and pattern of Palaeogene subsidence and Neogene inversion to be established for an uplifted and largely denuded basin: the Buller Coalfield, New Zealand. At the time of maximum subsidence in the late Oligocene, the basin consisted of an extensional half graben, bounded to the west by the Kongahu Fault Zone (KFZ), with up to 6 km of upper Eocene to Oligocene section adjacent to it; currently, only a few tens of metres of basal coal measures on basement are preserved on top of a range 800-1000 m above sea level. Integrated modelling of the VR and fission track data show that the deepest parts of the basin were inverted during two Miocene compressional phases (24-19 Ma and 13-8 Ma), and are consistent with a further phase of inversion during the Quaternary that formed the present topography. Palinspastic restoration of the three phases of inversion shows that the basin was not inverted in a simple way: most of the rock uplift/denudation adjacent to the KFZ occurred during the early Miocene phase, and at the same time burial occurred in the south-eastern part of the basin (maximum temperatures were experienced at different times at different places in the basin); during the middle to late Miocene there was broad uplift in the central and eastern parts of the coalfield. Because the timing and magnitude of uplift have been derived from the zone of inversion, they can be compared independently with the timing of unconformity development and rapid subsidence in the adjacent foredeeps, particularly the Westport Trough. For the middle to late Miocene phase of inversion, we show that during the first 1-2 million years of compression, the uplift within the coalfield also involved the margins of the Westport Trough, contributing to unconformity development; subsequently, uplift continued on the inversion structure but the margins of the Westport Trough subsided rapidly. This is explained by a model of stick slip behaviour on the boundary faults, especially for the KFZ. When compression started the fault zone has locked and uplift extends into the basin, whereas subsequently the fault zone unlocks, and the inversion structure overrides the basin margin, thereby loading it and causing subsidence.