I take it this is more akin to "be safe" or "get home safe" rather than just a general goodbye? For some reason "Take care!" here seems more casual than the dictionary leads me to believe (i.e. more intimate like what you would say to a loved one rather than, say, your boss). Would anyone be able to tell me if this is used in formal situations/with strangers?
mā.lama 1. nvt. To take care of, tend, attend, care for, preserve, protect, beware, save, maintain; to keep or observe, as a taboo; to conduct, as a service; to serve, honor, as God; care, preservation, support, fidelity, loyalty; custodian, caretaker, keeper. Cf. makemake, mālama hale, mālama hele, mālama moku, mālama pūʻolo, pālama 1. Mālama ʻana, custody. Mālama pono ʻia, well cared for. Mālama pono! Be careful! Watch out! Mālama makua, one who cares for parents. Mālama wahine, caring for one's wife. Mālama i kou makua kāne, honor your father. Mālama kauoha, obey orders. Mālama Lā Kāpaki, keeping the Sabbath. Ē kuʻu Akua, e mālama au iāʻoe ma ka noʻonoʻo, O my God, let me serve you in thought. O ka hoʻolohe a me ka mālama pono i ke aupuni, obedience and fidelity due the government. Ka mālama ʻole i kō haʻi ola, negligence of the lives of others. hoʻo.mā.lama
I have never interpreted "malama pono" as meaning to "take care of yourself." I have always believed it meant "take care of all things good and righteous." Pono is a deep concept in Hawaiian, as are many words such as aloha and 'aina. I guess in English it would be roughly equivalent to "Be true in all you do. Care for all you have." I would love some assistance on this interpretation, if anyone is reading it.